The epitome of 80s vogue, everybody over a certain age will remember when Creme Caramel was très chic and the dessert of choice at only the most discerning dinner parties. Sadly, along with the likes of Baked Alaska, Creme Caramel has gone the way of the Prawn Cocktail – largely relegated to dubious theme nights and the occasional bout of culinary nostalgia.
Thankfully though, Creme Caramel’s resurrection is at hand. These days there’s a fine line between passé and retro-revival and by simply adding a de rigueur ingredient like dulce de leche, suddenly Creme Caramel has renewed appeal and relevance. From tired to trending with one simple twist on a worn classic!
For a “classic” dessert, this recipe is surprisingly cheap to make. Other than the dulce de leche, most of the ingredients are pantry staples: milk, eggs and sugar. All in all, it’s a pretty impressive dessert for not a lot of money! A veritable institution in South America, dulce de leche isn’t always readily available in South Africa, but you can substitute it with something like Nestlé’s Caramel Treat instead.
Creme Caramel also has an undeserved reputation for being difficult to make, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Okay, admittedly the recipe looks complicated, but other than the “tempering” the recipe is actually very straight forward. As much as I would love to completely dispel the myth of how tricky it is to make Creme Caramel, I don’t think it’s something we should be shouting from the rooftops. A good dose of culinary kudos is never a bad thing and there’s nothing better than hearing your guests exclaim, “Wait, you actually made this? It’s amazing!”.
Yes, I did…and yes it is! Kudos indeed.
For more Sweet Treats from the Muddled Pantry, click here
Dulce de Leche Creme Caramel: Serves 4
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1.25 cups milk
- 1/2 cup dulce de leche (or Nestlé Caramel Treat)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- In a small saucepan combine sugar and water
- Bring sugar to a boil and cook over medium heat until sugar turns a golden caramel color – this should take about 7-10 minutes
- Divide the caramel into four 180ml ramekins, coating the bottom of each ramekin – set ramekins aside
- In a saucepan, combine milk, dulce de leche and salt.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking until the mixture is smooth and just comes to a simmer
- Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla in a medium bowl
- When the milk reaches a simmer, take it off the heat and temper the eggs by very slowly pouring the milk into the eggs, all the while whisking furiously. If you are nervous about tempering, rather whisk in the milk, a few tablespoons at a time to ensure that the mixture doesn’t curdle
- Strain mixture into a large measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout
- Put a kettle onto boil
- Arrange prepared ramekins in a 9×13-inch baking dish
- Divide custard mixture evenly into the ramekins
- Place baking dish into oven and carefully pour in the freshly boiled water until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until just set
- Remove the ramekins from the water and allow to cool to room temperature
- Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight
- Run a sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin
- Place the ramekins in the same baking tray from the day before, add some hot water and allow to stand for a minute
- Place a serving plate over the ramekin and invert so that the creme caramel will slide out