I CAN’T IMAGINE a more sensual dessert than Crème Caramel Renversée. The custard base is as sweet and velvety as a lingering kiss. The caramel topping shimmers like starlight. And get this — the entire dish requires just four ingredients — eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. Follow me into the kitchen, and I’ll show you how to make this easy elegance:
Note #1: You might wonder about the pronunciation of Crème Caramel Renversée. Crème is krem. Caramel is…well, caramel. Renversée, which translates to “reversed,” or, in this case, “unmolded,” is pronounced rahn-vehr-SAY.
Note #2: Utter “krem caramel rahn-vehr-SAY” on a crowded subway, and you’ll have to fend off marriage proposals.
Note #3: You could also call this dessert by it’s better-known Spanish name: “Flan,” or flawn.
Note #4: I don’t care what you call this dish. Just make it already!
First, make the caramel: Pour 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 1/2 tablespoons of water into a heavy-based saucepan. Set the pan over a medium-low flame, and let the syrup boil quietly until it turns a lovely shade of caramel-brown — about 10 minutes.
Promptly tip the caramel into a fairly straight-sided mold of some kind. I used my 8-cup Charlotte mold, but you might like to make the dessert in a 6- or 8-cup souffle dish, or, if you have them, in little ramekins. Slowly swirl the mold so the caramel coats the entire bottom of the dish, and about 2 inches of its sides.
And that’s it!
Now for the custard:
Note: I poured my milk into a 4-cup glass measure, and heated it in the microwave for 4 minutes. If you don’t have a microwave, heat the milk in a saucepan on the stove. Heat it to just below the simmering point.
Because we want to filter out milk solids, and, heaven forbid, any bits of egg shell.
Let the dessert cool for at least 2 hours before unmolding. I let mine cool for 3 hours at room temperature.
And by the way, you can make Crème Caramel Renversée at least one day in advance. Just cover the mold with a bowl before refrigerating.
Delicious, delicious, delicious.
Here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above:
Crème Caramel Renversée
A traditional French/Spanish dessert, as made by Kevin Lee Jacobs
Ingredients for 6-8 servings
For the Caramel:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons water
For the custard:
5 large, whole eggs plus 4 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 3/4 cups whole milk, heated to just below the simmer
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Special Equipment: A 6-8-cup fairly straight-sided mold of some kind (I used a Charlotte mold, but a common souffle dish will work, too); a fine-mesh strainer; a baking dish which is at least 2 inches deep
1. Pour the sugar and water into a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium-low flame. You can swirl the syrup by the handle of the pan, but do not stir it. Let boil quietly until the syrup turns caramel brown — about 10 minutes.
2. Immediately pour the caramel into the mold. Swirl the mold so that the syrup coats the bottom and about 2 inches of the sides.
Set the oven rack at the lower-third position; preheat the oven to 350°F
1. Put the whole eggs and the egg yolks in a big mixing bowl, and beat them with a wire whisk. Then whisk in the sugar. Whisking constantly, beat in the hot milk by big droplets, followed by the vanilla.
2. Set the strainer over the mold, and then pour in the custard. Set the mold in the baking dish, add enough boiling water to reach half-way up the sides of the mold, and then bake in the preheated oven until set — 50-60 minutes. The custard is done when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
3. Let the custard cool to room-temperature — 2 to 3 hours (or cover with a bowl and refrigerate for up to 24 hours).
4. To unmold, first run a knife along the edge of the custard. Then set a serving plate over the mold, and invert the two.
Serve cold or at room temperature, spooning some of the pooled caramel onto each plate.
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