Monday, 18 October 2010

Crème Caramel (cheat's version)

This is a quick way to produce a very tasty and smooth crème caramel. You may wish to make a big one in a round tin (with hole or not) or individual portions. Bear in mind that it's cooked in bain marie, so you'll need another pan to accommodate whatever you're using.

Ingredients for pudding

1 tin of sweetened condensed milk (400g/14oz)
1 + 1/2 tins of ordinary milk (measured in the above tin once you've emptied it)
1 level teaspoon of cornstarch (cornflour)
3 eggs

Ingredients for sauce

1 generous cup of sugar
3 tbspoons of water to start


I start with the sauce so it can rest and dissolve properly while I'm faffing with the rest of the recipe.

If using a large tin, you can melt the sugar directly in the same tin. Put the sugar and water in the tin and place on high heat until the sugar melts and colours ( be careful not to burn it, it tastes very bitter!), stirring all the time. Add more (boiling) water, keep stirring and adjust quantities. Add more sugar if you think you don't have enough sauce and so on. Leave it to rest and dissolve while you make the pudding mix. If using individual dishes, make sauce in a separate pan, then put some sauce into each dish.

Put all the ingredients in a blender, starting with the condensed milk so you can use the tin to measure the milk. Let it whizz for a couple of minutes, pour the mixture carefully and slowly into whatever dishes you're using, on top of the sauce. Cook it in bain marie until it looks firm (about 1 hour). It doesn't matter if it's a bit soft in the middle if making a big one, as long as the edges look firm, it will set when cool.

Bain marie can be done on the cooker top: one pan inside the other. Start with boiling water, then reduce the heat to just above a simmer. I cover my pan (mine is a special pan for this purpose). Individual portions will require a very large pan or perhaps two pans? It can also be made in the oven, but I'm not 100% sure about temperatures and cooking time. I looked up the recipe on a French website and they recommend 140C/285F for 1 hour. Again, one pan in another pan of boiling water, but in this case you can use a roasting tin. Make sure the water can't spill into the dishes if making individual portions, whichever method you use.

Leave it to cool completely, run a knife around the edges and carefully turn it into a round and lipped serving dish or individual bowls. If at this point you think you don't have enough sauce, make some more and pour over it.

I collected some photos of crème caramel so you can see the variety of presentations, which would be a handy guide on what type of dishes can be used to make it.


Examples of bain marie in the oven:

(Peter just had a look at the draft for the post, saw the photos and is salivating again!)

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