Sunday, August 21, 2011

Creme Caramel كـريــم كـرامـيــل

The crème caramel (also called French baked custard) is the French name for an easy yet delicious spoon dessert, universally known; this recipe dates back to the ancient Rome, when it was prepared as a non-sweet custard, pleasantly aromatic, which was later sweetened with honey. After the Middle Ages, this dessert reached Cristoforo Colombo, who brought it into the New World. Probably it's right for this reason that the crème caramel (with all its variants) is widely known all across the Latin countries, especially in Mexico, where it is superbly prepared.

Yet its French name is so widespread because the traditional preparation of crème caramel has recently rooted in the Southern regions of France, especially in the city of Tolouse.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Pour the milk into a saucepan with ½ vanilla pod inside, put it on the cook and bring it to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and let it stand for half an hour.

After half an hour, add the heavy cream to the milk; in the meanwhile whisk the eggs and the sugar in a bowl. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and heavy cream, then pour it very slowly into the whisked eggs, filtering it through a fine strainer and stirring constantly.
Now prepare the caramel by melting the sugar in a small saucepan (it's better a heavy pan) stirring constantly while simmering until golden brown and caramelized; if you prefer, you can make the caramel more fluid by adding 3-4 tablespoons of water to the sugar. Now pour it in the mould you've chosen and turn it over so that it spreads all over the surface, until cold and solid.

Now pour the previously prepared mixture into the moulds, cover them with an aluminium foil and put them into a bain-marie in a baking pan filled with hot water, which should come to at least 1/3 of the way up the sides of the moulds.

Bake the crème caramels for about 50 minutes and, once the cream has solidified, take the moulds out of the oven and let the crème caramels cool down at room temperature, then place them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

When it's time to serve the crème caramel, turn the mould upside down and let it slide down the sides.