Classic Crème Caramel

Classic Crème Caramel

BrianCamfam Cookery
For our crème caramel recipe, we wanted a custard that was creamy and tender enough to melt in our mouths, yet firm enough to unmold without collapsing on the serving plate. The most important part of the crème caramel recipe, we discovered, is the proportion of egg whites to egg yolks. Too many whites produced a rubbery, almost solid custard; too few and our custard collapsed. Creating a custard that’s creamy and smooth also depends on maintaining a gentle heating environment; this was provided by baking the custard in a water bath, a traditional procedure for custard.
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  • Caramel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
  • Custard
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ cups light cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch table salt


  • FOR THE CARAMEL: In a medium nonreactive saucepan and without stirring, bring sugar, water, corn syrup, and lemon juice to simmer over medium-high heat, wiping sides of pan with wet cloth to remove any sugar crystals that might cause syrup to turn grainy. Continue to cook until syrup turns from clear to golden, swirling pan gently to ensure even browning, about 8 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan gently and constantly, until large, slow bubbles on mixture’s surface turn honey-caramel in color, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove pan immediately from heat and, working quickly but carefully (the caramel is over 300 degrees and will burn you if it touches your skin), pour a portion of the caramel into each of 8 ungreased 6-ounce ovenproof ramekins. Allow caramel to cool and harden, about 15 minutes. (Can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days; return to room temperature before adding custard.)
  • FOR THE CUSTARD: Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat milk and cream, stirring occasionally, in medium saucepan over medium heat until steam appears and/or an instant-read thermometer held in the liquid registers 160 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes; remove from heat. Meanwhile, gently whisk eggs, yolks, and sugar in large bowl until just combined. Off heat, gently whisk warm milk mixture, salt, and vanilla into eggs until just combined but not at all foamy. Strain mixture through fine mesh sieve into large measuring cup or container with pouring spout; set aside.
  • Bring 2 quarts water to boil in kettle. Meanwhile, fold dish towel to fit bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan and position in pan. Divide reserved custard mixture among ramekins; place filled ramekins on towel in pan (making sure they do not touch) and set pan on oven rack. Fill pan with boiling water to reach halfway up ramekins; cover entire pan loosely with aluminum foil so steam can escape. Bake until a paring knife inserted halfway between center and edge of the custards comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer custards to wire rack; cool to room temperature (Can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 2 days.)
  • To unmold, slide a paring knife around entire mold perimeter, pressing knife against side of the dish. Hold serving plate over top of ramekin and invert; set plate on work surface and shake ramekin gently to release custard. Serve immediately.
  • FOR ONE LARGE CREME CARAMEL: Follow recipe for Classic Crème Caramel, pouring caramel and custard into 1 1/2-quart straight-sided soufflé dish rather than individual ramekins. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up sides of soufflé dish; increase baking time to 70 to 75 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of custard registers 175 degrees.

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