Crème Caramel (all yolk version)

IMG_0003-1For a long time I wanted to make Crème Caramel since it’s one of those French desserts I really enjoy. When I was recently left with six egg yolks after clarifying some stock the time was ripe.

Normally Crème Caramel, a free-standing custard, is made with milk, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Since I was stuck with my egg yolks I “had” to make a kind of super-rich version with double cream to boot. It was rather nice though, with January being a cold and miserable month.

The only pitfalls would be making the caramel, which in my opinion should be rather dark to give a bitter contrast to the creamy sweetness, and also to bake the creme caramels. Like Crème Brûlée it’s easy to overdo it so check the Crème Caramels carefully towards the end of the cooking.

Ingredients for the Crème Caramel:
400g double cream
75g whole milk
6 medium egg yolks
1 medium egg
120g caster sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod
150g caster sugar for the caramel

Preparing the Crème Caramel:
Start by preheating the oven to 140C non-fan.
Heat the cream and milk in a pot, let it boil briefly and then let cool.
Place the egg yolks and egg, 120g sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl and mix softly with a whisk. Be careful not to produce any foam, since foam would lead to bubbles in the crème caramel later.
Stir in the cream-milk-mixture carefully. Set aside.

Melt the remaining sugar until you desired caramel stage and then pour it into 6 ramekins (approx 100 ml each). Let cool until the caramel sets. Pour custard cream carefully on top.

Prepare a baking tray by placing some parchment paper at the bottom of the tray, then place the ramekins on top of the parchment paper. Pour in boiling water in the tray, you want the ramekins to stand in about two fingers width deep water. Pour the rest of the water in when the baking tray is in the oven if that is easier. Cover the baking tray with parchment paper when it’s in the oven.

Place the baking tray on the middle rack of the oven and bake the creme caramel for about 50 – 60 minutes. Checking the Crème Caramels consistency by jiggling the ramekins towards the end of the cooking time. Remove cups from baking tray, let chill and place into fridge for 4 – 6 hours.
To serve, dip the bottm of the ramekin briefly in a bowl of boiling water then run a small sharp knife around the edge of each bowl and turn upside down on plates.


Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

This was one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had.
Don’t be fooled by the “Salted” part of the name… the salt (use as much or little as you want) lifts the flavors to great effect.
This is pure indulgence so you’d want some acidic fruit or berry to cut through the richness… or just enjoy it on it’s own.

Ingredients for the salted butter caramel ice cream:
500 ml whole milk, divided
300 g sugar
60 g salted butter
Scant ½ teaspoon sea salt (preferably fleur de sel, otherwise Maldon)
250 ml heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparing the salted butter caramel ice cream:
Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved. (Or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later.)
Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go. The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 250 ml of the milk.

Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 71 – 77 C.

To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a small bowl (enough for 2 l) in a larger bowl partially filled with ice cubes and water. Set a fine mesh strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the rest of the milk into the bowl.

Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla extract, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Transfer to a jug and chill until thoroughly chilled (preferably overnight).

Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.