Crèmes Caramel.

A light baked custard, crèmes caramels are a delicate delight and cost almost nothing to make. Known is Spain as flan casero, they are, or were, a great favourite for dinner parties, and in restaurants, as they can be prepared well before hand and served up elegantly with a little garnish. 

Ingredients.

½ cup raw sugar.

2 tablespoons water.

1 tsp lemon juice.

¼ cup caster sugar.

1 ¾ cups warm milk.

¼ cup cream.

3 eggs.

¾ teaspoon vanilla. 

Method.

To make the caramel, brush four ¾ cup ramekins with a little melted butter. Spread the sugar over the base of a small pan over a medium heat and add the water. Swirl around a couple of times to help to incorporate, but do not stir. When the mixture begins to foam, add the lemon juice, swirl a couple of times and allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes to fully caramelise. Distribute evenly amongst the ramekins.

To make the custard, preheat the oven to 180º C. Beat the eggs and vanilla together in a bowl until very smooth. Heat the milk and sugar gently in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves, stir the warm milk into the egg mixture, stirring until fully combined and soft yellow in colour. Strain through muslin and pour gently into the ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish. Gently pour hot water around the ramekins until the water level is about 2/3 the way up the side of the ramekins.

Place the bain marie in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and place in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours to set. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekins and upend the pie onto a plate. Garnish with fruit and whipped cream. 

Yields: 4 servings.

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