I have very fond memories of crème caramel as it was often an indulgence in my childhood. Hardcore foodies will probably think it's sacrilege but I used to really enjoy the ones you bought from the supermarket. It wasn't until now that I'd thought to make them myself. I had been a bit turned off by hearing the difficulties, you know how it goes... "anything to do with a custard is tricky," and "hot milk and cold eggs; be warned." But I'm here to tell you it's actually really simple. They turned out perfect on my first go so I encourage you to try them, just be sure to follow the recipe carefully.
What you'll need
750ml full cream milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways with a sharp knife
5 large eggs
What to do
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan over medium heat and bring it just to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and cover to let stand while you make the caramel.
Set aside 8 ramekins ready. To make the caramel, put 100g of the sugar, and pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of water in a small heavy-based saucepan. Heat until the sugar without stirring (you can do the occasional 'swish' of the pan) until it turns a caramel colour and remove from the heat. Be careful not to go too far here, it really does change in an instant and if you go over you'll get a bitter burnt taste. When it stops sizzling, pour it carefully into the ramekins, it should end up about half a centimeter deep; just enough to cover the base. Set the ramekins in a baking tray and add enough boiling water to the tin for it to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Set aside.
Back to your milk mixture, add the remaining 80g of sugar and another pinch of salt. Stir well until dissolved. Remove the vanilla pod.
Put the eggs in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the warm milk (make sure it's not hot) into the eggs and stir well. Ladle into the ramekins.
Carefully transfer the tray to the oven and bake for about 20-25 or until the custard is set. You'll know it is ready when you can insert a skewer to the centre and it comes out clean. Dish up by flipping the ramekin onto a plate. Plenty of ooh's and aah's are sure to ensue as the caramel runs out.
Photos by Krissie.