Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr
Egg custards are quite simple to prepare, provided you follow the recipe directions! Avoid using excessive heat which will ruin the texture, stir the mixture constantly when cooking over direct heat & watch the mixture carefully as it thickens. I'm making this on Valentine's Day - its one of my hubby's favourite desserts!!
- Melt 1/2 cup of the sugar in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring, until its a light brown syrup; pour into 8 buttered ramekins or custard cups.
- Place ramekins into a shallow baking pan for easier handling; preheat oven to 300°F.
- Beat eggs, salt & remaining sugar in a large bowl with mixer at low speed until lemon coloured; gradually beat in milk & vanilla extract.
- Divide the custard mixture among the ramekins; pour HOT water into pan within 1 inch of top of cups.
- Bake for 1 hour until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove ramekins from Baking pan & cool on wire rack; refrigerate.
- To serve, loosen the custard from the cups with the tip of a sharp knife; invert onto a dessert dish, letting the syrup run down onto the side of the dish.
I've been using this exact recipe for years and years. It has never failed and has always been a favorite with family and guests. As to complaints of "egginess". Hello! This is egg custard, after all!! R. L. Wallace's review turns this recipe into rocket science and it truly doesn't have to be. It's an exceedingly simple and delicious recipe. Try it.
Followed directions as listed except made it in a pie plate which when I flipped over didn't come out so well so will use small dishes next time. Rave reviews from my guests.
1. "Egginess" Published recipes range from 1 egg per cup of milk, the standard proportion in American "cup custards" from the 50s, to 1 egg plus 2 additional yolks (4 eggs plus 8 yolks per liter) in Escoffier's classic version. As in hard-cooked eggs, the whites set to a Jello-like consistency that lets you unmold the custard, and 1 white per cup of milk is the practical minimum (though some recipes claim you can get away with less); the yolks give body, creaminess, and color. (Compared to standard recipes for creme brulee (2 yolks per cup of cream), Escoffier actually uses one more yolk per cup â€” but the cream makes creme brulee thicker and richer in the end.) Therefore, this creme caramel uses 1-2 whites too many, but (arguably) way too few yolks; and as one reviewer implied (Tali, 11-16-08), the over-eggy taste may be due to the whites. In addition, vanilla can tone down egginess, but this recipe uses only 1/2 tsp. extract per cup of liquid; when I make creme caramel, I use at least 1 inch of vanilla bean (the equivalent of 1 tsp. extract) per cup, and my liquid is one-third cream. 2. For the caramel, the same reviewer also suggested "using a couple drops of water when melting the sugar." "A couple drops" would not make any difference, but caramel is often made by adding about 6 tablespoons water for each cup of sugar and cooking the syrup until it turns caramel-colored. (Contrary to many alarmist recipes, if the syrup is cooked to the caramel stage it is not necessary to "wash down the sides of the pan" or include corn syrup or lemon juice; even if the sugar syrup starts to turn granular, by the time it reaches 300 degrees F. the crystals will all have melted.) It is easier to control the color of a caramel cooked this way, but melting the dry sugar in a skillet works fine too. Another alternative is to add water to the caramel after it has reached the desired color (about 1/4 cup water per cup of sugar), stirring it in well until the caramel dissolves into a smooth, very thick syrup; the theory is that this softer caramel will more easily dissolve into a sauce when the custard sits in the refrigerator overnight. In any case, baking the creme caramel well in advance gives more of the caramel a chance to dissolve; so does spreading the caramel thinly all over the inside of the mold instead of letting it pool thickly on the bottom. (That's the ingenious thing about creme caramel: baked custard's tendency to leak moisture as it stands, usually a detriment, is what produces the sauce!) Finally, for 3 cups of milk, I would use a full cup of sugar to make the caramel, double the amount in this recipe.