Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Caramel Custard

6 servings
Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Standing time 2 hours
190 calories per serving

3 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups milk, partly skimmed, 2%
2 tsp vanilla extract
salt, about one pinch
6 servings Microwaved Caramel (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Prepare the caramel. Divide it among the ramekins, then tilt and rotate each ramekin to thinly coat it. The caramel may not initially cover bottoms and sides completely, but it will spread and even out after the hot cream mixture is poured in.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly with a fork. Add sugar and 1 pinch of salt, then mix well.

Warm up the milk in a saucepan until hot but not boiling and pour it slowly into the egg mixture. Stir constantly but lightly, in order not to create too many air bubbles. Add the vanilla, then portion out into the caramel-covered ramekins.

Put a towel or piece of cloth into a large baking-pan (either a rectangular cake-mould or a roasting pan). Place the ramekins on the cloth and fill the pan with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (I didn't put a cloth in the bottom of the pan)

Bake in the middle of the oven 35-40 minutes or until the outside is set but the centre still trembles slightly when moved. The custard will continue to set as it cools. Check with a toothpick or knife to see if it is cooked through. (The knife should come out clean)

Take the ramekins out of the water bath right away to avoid overcooking. Let cool and then chill a few hours in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Run a thin knife around the edges to help remove the custards, then turn upside down onto serving plates and serve cold.

Microwaved Caramel

6 servings
Preparation 5 minutes
Cooking 5 minutes

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp warm water
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Be careful:  melted caramel is extremely hot!!!

Mix all the ingredients in a glass or Pyrex container of average size.  Cook in a microwave oven at maximum power until the syrup starts boiling.

Consider the suggested time as a reference only, since the precise cooking time depends on your oven's power.  Continue to cook using 10 seconds:  the syrup is ready when it turns golden-brown.