Thursday, July 27, 2006

Creme Caramel

I'm in love with the flavors and textures of this dessert. It's creamy and carmelly and sybaritic. It involves two separate processes: you make a custard and then you melt sugar until it carmelizes. When you serve it you pour the caramel over the custard. The caramel is very sweet, the custard not as sweet but super rich and creamy. It reminds me of creme brulee, but it's not as hard. It would be a perfect summer company dessert. It's cold, and you can make it way in advance. I do have to admit, I haven't perfected it yet. When I made it last night the gelatin didn't work so well and the creme turned out lumpy. My gelatin is a little old, maybe that's the problem.

Creme Caramel
serves 4
1 t. unflavored gelatin
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 c. heavy cream and 1/2 c. whole milk
pinch of salt

1. Stir gelatin and 2 t. water in a small bowl until dissolved.
2. Put 3/4 c. sugar into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until sugar at edges begins to melt and turn clear, about 3 min. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until medium amber, 1 1/2 to 2 min. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 c. plus 2 T. water. If sugar begins to solidify, return pan to medium heat until melted. Set caramel aside to cool completely.
3. Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Whisk eggs and yolk in a medium bowl; set aside. Bring cream, milk, 1/4 c. sugar, and the salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk half the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Pour cream-egg mixture back into saucepan. Add gelatin mixture; whisk until combined. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly, just until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 1/2 min.
4. Pour custard into a bowl set in the ice-water bath. Let cool completely, stirring constantly, about 3 min. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 min. Pour reserved caramel over custard. Divide among serving cups or bowls.


liz s said...

that sounds so delish. but i think i might need to be supervised in the process. too many things could go wrong. and tell me about the ice bath. what's that?

Sara said...

I don't believe you made this dessert. This receipe came in some magazine (Sunset?) with three others and was listed as a meal.

I tried the WHOLE meal. The steak was O.K. the oven fries were average (your tips were helpful), the salad was delicious and the dessert was IMPOSSIBLE. I tried and I tried. Impossible.

We ended up with strawberry shortcake.

Erin said...

Sara - it was in Martha Stewart and I liked the meal, although I didn't make the salad. I'm sorry to hear that the dessert sucked, maybe it's just a bad recipe, but I'm determined to make it work.

Salem said...

I can't get myself to eat gelatin anymore. I just can't think about what its made of.

Erin said...

Liz, you use an ice bath to basically cool down stuff as fast as you can. I use a big bowl, fill it with ice and water and then place my other, smaller bowl full of stuff in it and stir it until it cools.