Crème Caramel

Crème Caramel

Details

Crème caramel, which is sometimes referred to as flan, is a rich and easy-to-make custard dessert. Once baked, it is unmolded and served upside-down to expose the signature caramel underneath.
  • Serves: 6 to 8
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 5 hrs
  • Views: 26,255
  • Success Rating: 93% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog
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Steps

Step 1: Preparing the Caramel | Sugar Syrup

• 4 oz sugar
• water (enough just to cover)

Method

First preheat the oven to 350 °F (175° C) and have your ramekins (molds) ready. Depending on the size of the ramekins you may need 6 to 8 of them.

To start the caramel, place the sugar into the pot and add enough water just to cover. The more water that is added, the longer the sugar will take to caramelize. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not stir. Brush the sides of the pot with a clean pastry brush dipped in water to prevent any sugar crystals from crystallizing, if needed.

As soon as the sugar starts to color, gently swirl the pan to ensure the sugar is caramelizing evenly. This should take about 10 minutes or so. Once the desired caramel color has been achieved, quickly pour a bit of the caramel into the bottom of each ramekin.

Note: Until you get used to making caramel, you can remove the pot from the burner just before you think it is ready and then just gently swirl the pot around. The residual heat from the pot will continue to darken the sugar. This just sort of slows down the process a tiny bit so you don’t happen to overcook the sugar.

The caramel will be VERY hot, so DO NOT touch it. As it sits, it will harden. This is what is supposed to happen.

Note: To clean the caramel from the pot (and the ramekins later), fill the pot with water and bring to a simmer. The caramel will just melt away into the hot water.

Step 2: Preparing the Vanilla Custard

• 2 cups whole milk (500 ml)
• 6 large eggs
• 100 g sugar (just under 1/2 cup)
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method

To prepare the custard, scald the milk and vanilla, which means to bring it almost to the boiling point.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and sugar until just combined.

Step 3: Finishing and Straining the Custard

Method

To finish the custard, slowly temper the warm milk into the egg mixture while constantly whisking.

Once done, strain the custard into a large measuring cup or jug that has a spout. This will make it easier to pour the custard into the ramekins.

Step 4: Filling and Baking the Crème Caramel

Method

Place the ramekins into a large, oven-proof baking dish. Evenly distribute the custard between the ramekins, filling them about three-quarters full.

Next, fill the baking dish with very hot water until the water rises about half way up the ramekins. This will create a bain marie, which will cook the custards more evenly. For more information on this, watch the end of Step 1 of the Crème Brulee Recipe. Carefully transfer to the oven, making sure you don’t get any water inside the ramekins.

Let the custards bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes or until they are just set but still jiggle in the center (like in Step 2 of this Creme Brulee). If some are done before the others, remove them from the bain marie and transfer them to a cooling rack.

Step 5: Chilling & Serving the Crème Caramel

Method

Once done, place the custards into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or even overnight.

To serve, slide a thin paring knife between the custard and the inside rim of the ramekin. Try to stay as close as possible to the edge and try to be a smooth as possible (one motion) so that the edge of custard comes out as smooth and clean as possible.

Once the custard is loose, place a small plate over the top and then carefully flip the whole thing over, making sure to keep the plate secure with your fingers.

If the custard seems to be sticking a bit just give it a little nudge it should come out quite easily. It may just need a bit of air to get inside to loosen the custard. Serve.

Chef's Notes

Crème Caramel is a classic French dessert that is quick to make and even more fun to eat. Any leftovers will keep for quite a few days in the refrigerator.

There are many recipes for Crème Caramel. Some are made with cream and egg yolks and/or with flavorings added. This recipe is lighter than other versions and it’s not so heavy to have at the end of a meal.

15 Comments

  • Andrew L
    Andrew L
    I have not made this yet but have a question. Maybe there is an obvious answer to this when making the recipe, but should the caramel be stored in the refrigerator overnight? If so would it then need to be heated or at room temperature before pouring it over the custard?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    No, the caramel cannot be stored separately overnight. It is poured into the ramekins and the custard is then poured over that. The dessert is left to set in the refrigerator. Once it has chilled long enough, the whole dish is unmolded together. Cheers!
  • Andrew L
    Andrew L
    Thanks Kimberly, from the picture it looks as though it was added afterward also. It must spread after being refrigerated. I appreciate the response.
  • Barb H
    Barb H
    What purpose does scalding the milk serve in this recipe?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    In this case, we are just saying to heat the milk to just before the boiling point (you should see small bubbles around the sides of the pot). The hot milk will ensure that the sugar gets fully dissolved into the custard base. Cheers!
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    My caramel was too hard to be easly poured. A lot of it remained stuck to the pan. What I did wrong?
  • Christophe K Rouxbe Staff
    Christophe K
    Pas de probleme, simply put back the pot with caramel on the stove to melt it back until it is ""pourable"'. Bonne chance.
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    Hi. I repeated this recipe four times trying to control the heat and the cooking time. But I couldn't avoid getting a skin on the surface of the cooked custard in all the trials, even for a relatively undercooked custard. How can I solve this? Thanks in advance.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    I'm not entirely clear at what point in the process you are getting a skin on the surface. If you are referring to a skin that may occur after baking, next time you can loosely cover the baking pan with foil... but not too tight - this can cause the water to come to a boil and any steam that is trapped can also fall into the custards and water them down. Also, make sure your oven isn't running too hot. Custards love gentle heat, so feel free to also reduce the temperature by 25-50 degrees. Hope this helps. Cheers!
  • Rosalie
    Rosalie
    I tried making this for the first time, and found that my sugar tasted burnt. I must not have taken it off the heat quickly enough, so know for next time. The colour looked about what I thought it should be, but I guess it must have been too dark. I think next time, I would pour a bit of the caramel onto a piece of tin foil or something and then taste it when it got cool enough, before proceeding to finish the dish. It's a great recipe though... just need some more practice :)
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Rosalie- The heat from the pan will continue to cook the sugar for some time, so pulling it from the heat when it just develops golden coloration is a good idea. Once you do it a few times, you'll get the hang of it. Good luck!
  • Ivano V
    Ivano V
    Hi, are you sure that we need to use whole eggs in this recipe? Because for me it tastes like omelet now=(
  • Kirk B Rouxbe Staff
    Kirk B
    Hi Ivano - Great comment - we haven't tried this particular recipe without whole eggs but I definitely encourage you to try another approach and let us know what you think. I've tired other Creme Caramel recipes that use liquid egg whites in the past - and the results were positive so I believe it's possible to alter this recipe to create a lovely Creme Caramel without the whole eggs. I look forward to your feedback Ivano! Thanks for learning with Rouxbe! Chef Kirk
  • Ivano V
    Ivano V
    I've tried a couple other recipes and I'm not sure I can post them here, but it's much better when creme fraiche instead of Half the milk, and with less eggs and half of them - only egg yolks. I still don't know the perfect recipe, but it's the beginning=)
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Thanks so much for following up, Ivano! We love to hear the results of your experimentation. Your suggestions sound like they would result in a nice variation of this recipe. Your comments help all the cooks interested in creme caramel.

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