Every time I see a Crème Caramel, a childish eagerness tugs my heart and belly strings. Amid all the gorgeous puddings and the sophisticated soufflés that my mother had mastered, there was always her ‘usual’, a Crème Caramel to grace the dessert table at all parties and I- simply-loved-it. This is one pudding that I shall always associate with my mother who still makes it and turn it out with fearless perfection. I secretly still play it safe and make it in individual ramekins, and sometime with a hint of saffron that taken this dessert to another level altogether. Presenting… Saffron Crème Caramel.
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F and put a kettle on boil …. No seriously 🙂 you will need hot water. Measure out 3 tablespoons of sugar. I didn’t have any castor sugar, but if you do use 3 tablespoons of that as that will dissolve faster.
Break the eggs into the same bowl as the sugar.
Whisk well for 2-3 minutes and then add the saffron.
Add ¼ teaspoons of custard powder to some milk and mix till no lumps remain.
Add all the milk including the one with the custard powder into the egg and sugar mixture.
Whisk well and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. This will allow the saffron to release its flavor which is actually quite a delicate one in this custard.
I strongly suggest that you check that all the ramekins fit together in your chosen oven proof dish before pouring in the mixture. Yep- sheepish admitting that that happened…. there was a spill as well and guess who got half a pudding. 🙁
Carefully pour the mixture into the four ramekins.
Place them into the ovenproof dish and into the preheated oven. Now pour hot water from the kettle into the dish slowly and carefully so you don’t splash it into the custards. The water should only come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This hot water bath technique is called Bain Marie and it helps to cook gently by distributing the heat evenly and nag nag nag
Okay, okay…. Just bake at 150°C/300°F for around 20 minutes.
First check should be after 15 minutes. The custard should be slightly soft around the edges and wobbly at the center; if its not leave it in for another 5 minutes.
Keep in mind that even after you take the ramekins out and remove them from the hot water bath they will keep cooking. If your custard is perfectly cooked when taken out of the oven, it will overcook while you set it out to cook.
Once done, take the dish out of the oven and remove the ramekins from the hot water and onto a cooling rack. Once cool enough, you can chill them before in the refrigerator.
Just in case you feel that they are perfectly done out of the oven and might overcook while cooling; place in a tepid bath and add some ice cubes for the temperature to go down faster without cracking the ramekins. And yep… that’s happened as well although not with the same batch.
You can top this with roasted nuts, whipped cream, berries or the ultimate combination of baked figs. But since such luxuries aren’t always available I settled for sprinkling castor sugar on top and using a Brulee torch to caramelize the sugar. If you decide to follow suit make sure that you keep moving the flame back and forth to melt and brown the sugar evenly. And do this just before serving 😛
There you have it, invitingly soft and delicious custard complimented by the delicately flavoring from saffron.
- 3 Eggs
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 450 ml Milk – Full Cream
- ¼ Teaspoon Custard Powder
- ⅛ Teaspoon Saffron
- For Topping
- 3 Teaspoon Castor Sugar (Optional)
- 4 Ramekins – Ovenproof
- 1 Baking Dish – Ovenproof and large enough to fit in all the ramekins.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F
- Put a kettle on boil for the hot water bath (Bain Marie) for the custards.
- Whisk together the eggs and the sugar.
- Add the saffron.
- Dissolve the custard powder in some of the milk.
- Pour all the milk, including the one with custard powder, into the egg and sugar mixture.
- Whisk well and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Place ramekins into an ovenproof dish.
- Pour the custard mixture into the ramekins.
- Place the dish into the preheated oven and pour the hot water into the dish so that the water level is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Check at 15 minutes. The sides should be firmer while the centers should still be quite soft and wobbly.
- When done, remove the dish from the oven.
- Take the ramekins out of the water bath and leave to cool.
- Serve chilled with whipped cream, berries or caramelize sugar on top with a Brulee torch.