Chamomile and Saffron Crème Caramel
By Meeta K. Wolff
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
For the caramel:
60g fine granulated sugar
60g light muscovado sugar
For the creme:
butter for greasing forms
500ml whole milk
10g dried chamomile flowers
Pinch of saffron
100g fine granulated sugar
2 eggs plus 4 yolks
Grease six ramekins or aluminum forms with butter and set aside. Pour the milk into a small pan, add the chamomile flowers and saffron and allow the milk to come to a simmer. Make sure you do not boil the milk. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse while you make the caramel.
In a deep saucepan put the two sugars for the caramel and add just enough water to barely cover the sugar - start with about 2 tablespoons. Heat slowly, stirring gently with a metal tablespoon until the sugar has dissolved. The base of the pan should no longer feel gritty when you run the spoon over it. As the water evaporates, the syrup will become thicker and the bubbles on the surface will get bigger. Do not stir the syrup during this time.
When the syrup starts to turn golden at the edges, swirl the pan to ensure even coloring. Do not stir! When the syrup has turned a rich golden caramel color and has a sweet toasty fragrance, remove from heat. Divide the syrup between the molds, working quickly before it sets, and swirling to cover the bases. Set aside.
Strain the milk. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs and the eggs yolks. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until combined. Slowly pour the milk into the bowl, stirring all the time, then leave to settle for 15 minutes while the caramel sets. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 150C and boil a kettle.
If there is any foam on the surface of the custard mixture skim then pour through a sieve into the ramekins and cover each one tightly with foil. Place the ramekins into a roasting pan. Pour hot water into the pan to two-thirds of the way up the ramekins. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until the custard is just set but still slightly wobbles at the center. Remove from the bain-marie and leave to cool. Refrigerate until completely cold.
To unmold, run a slim knife around the outside of each mold and invert on to plates.
For a really smooth and creamy finish be as gentle as possible to avoid adding a lot of air in the mixture.
Keep the heat moderate while cooking the custard to ensure you get a really fine creme caramel.
I prefer a more liquid syrup to my creme caramel. If you like it thicker add less water and allow it to thicken more.
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