Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crème Caramel

This custard dessert is also known in Spain as flan, in Italy as crema caramella and in France as crème renversée.

Want to make a classic dessert, in a snap?  Arguably one of the quickest desserts to whip up, this little number is quite impressive for dinner parties (if you are a fan of Flan - some people don't like the jello-texture.)  The only down side is that you need to make it early because of a 3-hour chilling time.  

1/4 plus 1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In heavy 1-quart saucepan, heat 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar has melted and is amber in color.  Immediately pour into six 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins.

Note: Always, immediately pour caramel into custard cups.  Otherwise it will overcook and harden.

In large bowl, with wire whisk, beat eggs and remaining 1/3 cup sugar until blended.  Whisk in milk, vanilla and salt until well combined; pour mixture through strainer into prepared custard cups.

Place custard cups in small baking pan; place on rack in oven.  Carefully pour enough very hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of cups.  Bake just until knife inserted 1 inch from center of custards comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.  Transfer custard cups to wire rack to cool.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, 3 hours or up to overnight.

To serve, run tip of small knife around edge of custards.  Invert cups onto dessert plates, shaking cups gently until custards slip out, allowing caramel syrup to drip onto custards.
Makes 6 servings
(or split recipe in half to make, like I did and save the third one to share the next evening).

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