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Creme Caramel

A smooth and creamy dessert that's surprisingly easy to make.
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creme caramel

Creme Caramel is the smooth and creamy dessert that looks and sounds fancy but is quite simple to make.

This Creme Caramel recipe calls for only four main ingredients – milk, cream, sugar and eggs – plus some vanilla extract and water.

This dessert does need to be refrigerated for at least six hours, preferably overnight. But with a little planning ahead you can serve up a truly special dessert with very little fuss.

creme caramel

What is creme caramel?

Creme Caramel, sometimes called caramel pudding or caramel custard, is a custard dessert topped with caramel sauce.

It’s European, though its exact origins are disputed. Some say it’s undoubtedly French, while others point to Spain and Italy.

In Australia, it goes back well over one hundred years. Recipes appeared in Australian newspapers and magazines most frequently between 1900 and 1950.

It’s still, of course, popular today. Though it’s probably more common to buy Creme Caramel pre-made at the supermarkets or to order it from a restaurant menu.

However, if you’ve got those four ingredients (milk, cream, sugar and eggs) it really is worth having a go at this yourself.

creme caramel recipe
Creme Caramel recipes in The Australian Women’s Weekly, Nov 1970 (top), Sunday Times, Jun 1905 (bottom left) and Port Lincoln Times, Mar 1954 (bottom right).

How to make Creme Caramel at home

In addition to the ingredients (precise quantities of which can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post), you’ll need:

  • 4 ramekins or Pyrex custard cups (about 3/4 cup capacity each)
  • baking tray (large enough to hold all 4 ramekins/cups)
  • strainers (large and small).

Start by pre-heating the oven to 170 degrees (fan-forced) and greasing the four ramekins/cups.

Next, it’s time to make the caramel.

Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat and boil (without stirring) until a pale golden brown. This should take 10-15 minutes.

Keep in mind the sugar will keep cooking even after you take it off the heat, so aim to take the mixture off the heat when it’s a colour that’s just a little paler than you’d like the final caramel.

Pour equal amounts of the mixture into the ramekins/cups. (The caramel may set hard – don’t worry as the custard when added dissolves it into a liquid caramel when resting in the fridge).

making creme caramel

Now it’s time to make the custard.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla.

Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until almost at boiling point. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Gradually add to the eggs, sugar and vanilla mixture, whisking as you go.

Pour the custard mixture through a large strainer into a pouring jug. This step ensures a smoother and creamier custard.

Using another smaller strainer, carefully pour an equal amount of custard into each ramekin/cup.

Place the ramekins in a large baking dish and pour boiling water into the dish so it reaches half way up the side of the ramekins.

Place the tray in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the custard has set. It should have just a very slight jiggle when you move the ramekins. If it looks very wobbly it’s not yet cooked enough. And if you cook it too much it will develop a more “eggy” taste. So try to get the custard cooked just right, still with a slight wobble.

Remove ramekins from water and allow to cool a little before placing in the fridge for at least 6 hours. (The caramel will turn from toffee into a caramel sauce during this time.

When you’re ready to serve the Creme Caramels, run the blade of a butter knife around the inside edge of the ramekins. Invert and the Creme Caramel should drop from the ramekin onto the plate. If not, run the knife around the ramekin again and have another try.

Serve Creme Caramels cold with berries.

Creme Caramels should last about 4 days in the fridge.

creme caramel

Creme Caramel

A smooth and creamy dessert that's surprisingly easy to make.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian, English, French
Keyword: creme caramel
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 332kcal

Equipment

  • 4 ramekins or Pyrex custard cups (about 3/4 cup capacity)
  • baking tray (large enough to hold all 4 ramekins/cups)
  • strainer (large and small)

Ingredients

Caramel

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Custard

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream (heavy cream)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs (ideally at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees (fan-forced).
  • Grease the four ramekins/cups.

Caramel

  • Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
    stirring sugar mixture for creme caramel
  • Increase heat and boil (without stirring) until a pale golden brown (10-15 minutes).
    boiling sugar for creme caramels
  • Pour equal amounts of the mixture into the ramekins/cups. (The caramel may set hard – don't worry as the custard when added dissolves it into a liquid caramel when resting in the fridge).
    caramel for creme caramel

Custard

  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla.
  • Heat milk and cream in a saucepan until almost at boiling point. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Gradually add to the eggs, sugar and vanilla mixture, whisking as you go.
    making custard for creme caramels
  • Pour mixture through a large strainer into a pouring jug. (This step ensures a smoother and creamier custard.)
  • Carefully pour through another smaller sieve an equal amount of custard into each ramekin/cup.
    pouring custard from creme caramel
  • Place the ramekins in a large baking dish and pour boiling water into the dish so it reaches half way up the side of the ramekins.
    creme caramels in baking tray
  • Place tray in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the custard has set. It should have just a very slight jiggle when you move the ramekins. If it looks very wobbly it's not yet cooked enough.
  • Remove ramekins from water and allow to cool a little before placing in the fridge for at least 6 hours. (The caramel will turn from toffee into a caramel sauce during this time).
    creme caramels cooling on tray
  • Run the blade of a butter knife around the ramekins, invert and serve cold with berries.
    removing creme caramels from moulds

Notes

Tips for making Creme Caramel
  1. Use fresh eggs at room temperature.
  2. Make sure you strain the custard mixture to achieve a smoother result.
  3. Don’t overcook the custard of your Creme Caramels will develop an “eggy” taste. They should still have a very slight jiggle when you remove the ramekins from the oven.
  4. Make sure you allow the Creme Caramels to stand in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Serve this dessert chilled, straight from the fridge.
  6. Creme Caramels last for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 207mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 126mg | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 724IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating




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