Creme Caramel

It’s really important to keep going back to foods you think you hate and keep trying them – as tastes can change dramatically over time. I try an olive once a year or so and I still think they taste like perfume, but have changed my mind about a lot of other foods, so it’s well worth trying some foods you haven’t gone near for years thinking you don’t like them, as you may be surprised.

Two recent discoveries for me have been peanut butter (which I now eat out of the jar, despite hating it my entire childhood) and creme caramel. I re-discovered this about two years ago and loved it, though I remember hating it so much as a child that I actually turned down pudding when it was offered to me, which is tantamount to hell freezing over.

Consequently, I had never tried to make one before until now and am quite happy with my first attempt!

It would have been nice if my caramel had turned out a little smoother, but the taste was lovely and rich and the custard was perfect, smooth and well flavoured. This is a good dinner party dessert – impressive and easy to prepare ahead!

Right, I’m off to try some turkish delight to see if I like it yet…

Recipe from BBC Good Food (Makes 6)

For the caramel

  • 140g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp cold water

For the custard

  • 500ml milk
  • 3 large eggs , plus 2 egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • a few drops vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier, optional
  1. Put the sugar in a small frying pan, preferably non-stick, and add the water. Heat slowly, stirring gently with a metal tablespoon until the sugar has dissolved. The base of the pan will no longer feel gritty when you run the spoon over it. (Step 1)
  2. Increase the heat under the pan and allow the syrup to bubble. As the water is driven off, the syrup will become thicker and the bubbles on the surface will get bigger. Do not stir the syrup during this time. (Step 2)
  3. Watch the syrup carefully and when it starts to turn golden at the edges, swirl the pan to ensure even colouring. Do not stir it. When the syrup has turned a rich golden caramel colour, remove from heat. (Step 3)
  4. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Pour the caramel into ramekins. Bring the milk to simmering point.
  5. Put the eggs and yolks in a bowl with the sugar and whisk lightly together.
  6. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Strain into a clean jug and add the vanilla, and liqueur, if using. Pour carefully into the prepared ramekins.
  7. Pour boiling water from the kettle into a roasting tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 15-20 mins until the custards are just set. Leave to cool, then chill for at least 4 hrs, or even overnight. The caramels can be made up to 3 days in advance.
  8. To turn out each caramel, run the point of a sharp knife around the top edge of each ramekin, place a dessert plate on top and invert. Give the ramekin and plate a sharp shake and carefully remove the ramekin.