Creme caramel

Individual creme caramel.
Individual creme caramel. Photo: Murdoch Books
Dietary
Gluten-free

If you're out to impress, this dish will do the trick. It's another classic French dessert, though there are variations on this silky smooth baked custard from both Spain (flan) and Italy.

Ingredients

220g (1 cup) caster sugar

600ml milk

1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped

4 eggs

2 egg yolks

Method

1. Combine 175g of the sugar with 80ml (⅓ cup) water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to the boil. Boil for 6-7 minutes or until the mixture turns a deep caramel colour. Working quickly and taking care as the mixture will spit, remove the pan from the heat and add 2 tablespoons cold water. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a simmer, swirling the pan to combine well, and cook for 2 minutes or until smooth. Place six 185ml (¾ cup) dariole moulds or heatproof ramekins in a roasting pan and divide the caramel evenly among them. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the caramel to set. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Heat the milk and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from the heat. Use a balloon whisk to whisk the eggs and egg yolks together in a large bowl until combined. Add the remaining sugar and the hot milk and stir to combine well. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug.

3. Divide the mixture among the moulds, then fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake for 35 minutes or until the custards are set, but still a little wobbly in the centre when the moulds are shaken gently. Remove from the pan and cool to room temperature. Cover each mould with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled.

4. To serve, use your fingertip to gently press all around the top of a custard to loosen it from the side of the mould. Invert onto a serving plate and shake quickly, but gently, until the custard is released from the mould. Repeat with the remaining crème caramels. Serve immediately.