These smooth custards with a ring of dark caramel on top are a classic European dessert – often called Flan in Spain. Crème caramel is a quick and easy dessert simply made with eggs and cream but needs gentle cooking. Why not serve with a few fresh raspberries on the side?
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 2-3 drops vanilla extract
- 450ml full fat milk
- 50ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 2.
To make the caramel; Place only 100g of the caster sugar in a medium pan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, shaking the pan occasionally. Turn up the heat and cook until the sugar turns a pale golden colour. Watch it carefully until it turns a slightly deeper shade then remove from the heat and dip the base of the pan in cold water. Be careful it will splutter, but this cools the caramel and prevents it from continuing to cook until it burns.
Pour the caramel into 6 small ramekin dishes. Place the dishes in a roasting tin.
Make the custard; In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs, remaining 100g sugar and vanilla. Beat in the milk and cream, then pour into a clean pan and heat very gently until it is just warm to the touch.
Pour the custard equally into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the roasting tin until it comes about two thirds of the way up the sides of the dishes.
Bake the custards for 15-20 mins until just set. Leave to cool then chill until ready to serve. Press your finger around the edge of each one to loosen then invert the ramekins onto saucers so that the custard falls out.
It is important to cook the custards in a bain marie – a water bath, as this prevents the custard from over heating when it may form bubbles and be tough rather than velvety smooth.