Saturday, November 24, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, while walking on the streets of Washington, I passed by "Jaleo", a famous restaurant owned by José Andrés. On early Sunday afternoon, the place was packed with people, who finished their lunches, and were awaiting desserts and coffee.
A young couple sitting next to the window was just served crème caramel, which looked very appetizing: shiny and wobbly with brown caramel around. I had no time to walk in and try it but when I came home I could not forget the dessert and decided to make crème caramel myself.
Somehow, I have never made crème caramel and I was looking for a recipe that would be easy enough but would work. I found one in my son's International Cooking Camp Cookbook. This recipe differed from others in that it called for eggs and two types of canned milk.
Crème caramel made with such ingredients is a little bit more firm or textured than its traditional version made with just milk and cream. But I liked it even more as the taste of eggs in not too strong and the two kinds of milk make it taste a bit like white chocolate.
Last week, talking to a friend from Mexico, I learned that what I made was a traditional Mexican dessert called there caramel flan.
All in all, crème caramel, caramel flan, or creme reverse are many variations of the same similar dessert with caramel on top, which is easy to make and delicious in taste.
4 large eggs, preferably organic,
one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk,
one 12 oz can evaporated milk,
1 tsp vanilla essence,
1 cup sugar.
1. To make caramel, pour sugar and four tablespoon of water in a small pot and bring them to boil. Cook on high heat until it bubbles. This will take about 5-8 minutes. At first, sugar will turn almost white and later it will be gradually getting darker. When it turns gold watch it carefully not to overburn it. Caramel should be light brown color.
2. Divide hot caramel among six oven-proof ramekins and place them on a baking form with relatively high walls.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
4. To make custard, place both milk and eggs in a large bowl and whisk just to mix well all the ingredients. In can also be made in a food processor or mixer.
5. Divide custard among the ramekins with caramel at the bottom. Pour around the ramekins enough hot water up to about half of the ramekins' height. Put the whole baking form in the oven and cover the tops of the ramekins with a sheet of aluminium foil.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes. Water should not boil around the ramekin. If it does, lower the oven's temperature to 325F. After 20 minutes you need to check how your flans are doing. Flan should be set but still wobbly.
7. Remove ramekins from the water and cool at first in room temperature. Place them later in a refrigerator and chill for four hours.
8. Before serving, run a small knife around the edges of the ramekins, cover the ramekines with small serving plates and turn them upside down (one by one), to release the flan with caramel on top.