Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A VERY happy ending!

I told you there'd be a part three to my "babysitting" story. To me, any good story needs a happy ending, and since my particular story ends with me slathering spoonfuls of Denise's sensually satisfying crème caramel into my mouth that was honestly THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD, this is nothing less than a deliriously delicious denouement. Like a good crème brulée, crème caramel is perhaps one of the most abused desserts. Rarely does it transcend the "just okay" category, and with all things custard being one of my favorite ways to clog my arteries, I have had uncountable disappointments. Last Saturday "just okay" wasn't an option. These ramekins of creamy delight didn't even glance in that direction and rocketed directly into the rarified "oh-my-fucking-god" category. D&K, this was a crazy finish to an amazing dinner...thanks....I've never felt so well-cared for! Although next time if you could arrange a driver home.........
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The verbiage is all Denise. She said I could edit it, but when it's so fun, I wouldn't dare!-bb
Creme Caramel for 6
(all the recipes I found were for 4...but seriously, why would you just make 4?)
(I combined a few recipes by erring on the side of a richer custard...mmmm, eggyolk...though less sweet. was still plenty sweet. From what I can tell this is a VERY forgiving dish since ingredients and techniques vary wildly online.)

- 1 c sugar
- 4 T water

- 3 c milk (any combo will work as far as I can tell so use whatever you have / want. I used 1 c whipping cream and 2 c lowfat milk)
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- 2 eggs plus 6 egg yolks, beaten

Put a frying pan on medium heat. When hot add 1 c sugar and enough water to moisten the sugar. Swirl / stir as it melts to ensure all the sugar is wet. In about 5 minutes it will start to bubble; stir / swirl to brown evenly all over, and when it reaches a nice caramel color, remove from heat. (Depending on the heat retention of your pan it will keep cooking, so take it off the heat / keep swirling accordingly.)

Evenly distribute the caramel among 6 ramekins. (Next time I'd try a squirt of Pam...or a heavier pan for my bain marie...because while there was plenty of liquid caramel, there was also a thick sheet of candy stuck to the bottom.)

While your sugar's carmelizing, break and beat eggs into a large bowl. Add 1/4 c sugar to the eggs and whisk until frothy and color lightens.

Heat the milk/cream combo, add vanilla, remaining 1/4 c sugar and salt, stirring until it comes to a boil. (Unsure of the logic of half the sugar in the milk and half in the eggs. Some recipes put it all in the egg; whip a bit longer.)

Slowly pour the milk mixture though a sieve into the eggs, starting with just a little to temper the eggs. Once the egg mixture is warm you can add the rest of the hot milk quickly. Stir, divide between the ramekins.

Place the ramekins into a pan with hot water 2/3 up the ramekins, bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees, checking and rotating the bain marie halfway through the cooking time. Remove when custards are jiggly but set. Remove from the hot bath, cool, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.

To serve, run a knife around the outside and invert on a plate. I pulled mine from the fridge a few hours ahead and put the ramekins back in a hot bath so the custard wouldn't be ice cold.

(I used 6 1 c ramekins, but use whatever you have, adjusting cooking time based on how deep / shallow your cups are.)
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one year ago today @ E.D.T.: little effort, high reward Indian-style with this amazing Goan Shrimp Curry!


dds said...

Could you do a little Photoshop cleanup on those messy plate edges, please? Damn that camera for exposing imperfections unnoticed in the glow of candlelight, 4 bottles of wine, and your scintillating company.

bb said...

I know....wasn't there a guy at the pass through to your kitchen who was supposed to wipe the plates?? Ha, thank god we don't have to worry about that. Here's to duller vision but more relaxed eating!

dp said...

I am all over this one. I have an unhealthy love for all kinds of custards!

bb said...

dp....not to say you're wrong, but I have a hard time finding ANYTHING wrong with a love for custard in all its glorious forms! Can't wait to see what you think......