Sweet Creme Caramel
|Water||2 1⁄2 Ounce|
|Sugar||3 1⁄2 Ounce|
|Vanilla pod/1 teaspoon vanilla essence||1⁄2|
To make the caramel, in a heavy, medium sized saucepan, heat the sugar and water over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely.
Increase the heat to moderately high and allow the syrup to come to the boil.
Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it turns a light golden brown in colour.
Be careful not to overcook the syrup or it will darken too much and become bitter.
Immediately the caramel has reached the right colour, remove the pan from the heat and pour it into six individual ramekins or one heatproof dish.
Do not allow the caramel to cool before pouring it into the ramekins or dish.
In a heavy, medium sized saucepan bring the milk and sugar to the boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
When the sugar has dissolved, add the vanilla pod to the milk.
Cover the pan, remove from the heat and leave the vanilla to infuse with the milk for 20 minutes.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the eggs and the egg yolks with a wire whisk until they thicken and become pale yellow.
Beating continuously, gradually add the milk to the beaten eggs, pouring it in through a strainer.
Discard the vanilla pod.
If you have not used the vanilla pod, stir in the vanilla essence at this point.
Stir well and pour the mixture into a large jug.
Preheat the oven to warm 325°F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C).
Pour the milk mixture through a silk tammy or a very fine strainer into the six ramekins or the dish.
Spoon off any froth which appears on the surface.
Place the dishes in a deep baking tin or bain marie and add enough boiling water to reach about half way up the sides of the dishes.
Place the baking tin or bain marie in the lower part of the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the centre of the creme is firm when pressed with your finger.
Do not allow the water to simmer during the baking because if it does the custard will have a grainy texture. (If the water does begin to simmer, lower the oven heat immediately).
Remove the dish from the water and allow to cool thoroughly.
Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Then run a knife around the edge of the ramekins or dish and place a serving plate on top.
Reverse the creme caramel on to it and serve immediately.