Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Tale of Two Custards

My sister makes the most delicious Crème Brulee, it’s always a family treat and we love to have it on special / not-so-special occasions. She taught me the secretes to stirring and chilling a few years back, so since then I’ve made vanilla, cappuccino, lavender, and toffee renditions. But while Brulee is decadent and smooth it also fills your waist line. So in the spirit of healthy living I thought I would try making Crème Caramel, the less sultry and definitely easier cousin of Brulee.

I’m not sure if I succeeded. The Caramel was sweet, but not smooth as Brulee. The almonds added a nice texture difference but something was just missing… maybe it’s the 3 cups of cream I’m used to….

Crème Caramel
1/3 c. sugar
4 tbsp water

3 egg yolks, beaten2 eggs, beaten1/3 c. sugar1 2/3 c. milk1/2 tsp. vanilla
3-4 almonds, chopped

Set up 8-10 ramekin bowls or other small bake proof dishes in a 9x12 pan (like a lasagna pan).

In a medium non-stick pot melt sugar and water together on high heat until it just starts to brown becoming caramel, about 8-10 minutes. Pour hot caramel into the dishes, coating the bottom. Caramel will cool quickly so reheat if needed. Once the caramel has cooled sprinkle the chopped almonds on top.

In a large double boiler or non-stick pot, heat milk and sugar to a low boil; when small bubbles form around the sides. Slowly stir in eggs (temper by stirring in a tbsp of the milk into the eggs first). Add vanilla and heat through stirring for 5 minutes.

Pour into the dishes, straining if the eggs have formed up slightly.

Fill the pan with water up 2/3 the side of the ramekins. Bake for 40-60 minutes in a 300 degree oven or until thickened and a knife comes out clean. Let cool and place in refrigerator overnight, up to 2 days or at least 4 hours to set. Run a knife around the edges of the dish and invert onto a plate, letting the caramel run over the sides.

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