Creme caramel is one of most famous desserts ever. Its simplicity and elegance has made this French dessert so popular that there would be almost none who would have not tasted this dessert. Creme caramel is an egg and milk based dessert served with caramel syrup and has a slight wobbly nature and a silky, satiny texture. If you want to make it slightly firmer and a different texture, you can add 2 Tbs of semolina or Rawa to the custard mixture. Creme caramel was also a regular at our home especially during the Ramadan to gratify sweet cravings. But it was always prepared from the instant shop-bought ready-mix packets which just had to be heated with milk and served. Well, it was all good then, but home-made versions always have its own goodness in them. No preservatives, using of fresh ingredients and so on.
This recipe is adapted from one of the cook books that I got along with my ‘Futura Pressure cooker’. I have tried few recipes in the book and they just were perfect! Since the recipe is taken from that book, I have used the pressure cooking method for Creme caramel here. It was just so easy to make and since I used the pressure cooker, it was hassle free and just so quick.
Apart from the pressure cooker method there are couple of other ways to cook the Creme caramel as well. One is the oven method: For baking the dessert in the oven, Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Place a large tray in the oven and keep the custard filled mold in the tray. Pour hot water in the pan half way up to the mold. Cook for about an hour or until a knife inserted in the centre comes clean. You can also also cook it in a regualr deep sauce-pan which is almost similar to the pressure cooking method. For this method, cover the custard filled mold tightly with a foil and securely tie it with a twine. Place in a saucepan containing hot boiling water. Close the saucepan tightly and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until set.
While making caramel, there are few things to be taken into consideration. One important thing is DO NOT STIR the caramel until all the sugar is dissolved. It might take some time to get required colour for the caramel, anywhere from 10-15 minutes depending on the heat used. The caramel turns from a light golden, runny honey colour to deep dark brown colour. And if you heat further you may burn the caramel and end up getting a caramel that tastes very bitter. So take the pan off the flame once the caramel reaches a deep golden colour. Make sure you coat the mold immediately because the caramel may set very quickly causing them to harden.
The mess you see on top is the aftermath of my experiments with the leftover caramel:).
For the caramel syrup:
6 - 8 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbs water
For the custard:
2 cups/ ½ litre milk
3 Ex-large Eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 Tbs Semolina (Rava) –optional
4 Tbs (1/4 cup) sugar
To make caramel:
1. In a small, heavy saucepan, conmibe 8 Tbs sugar and 3 Tbs water . Place the pan on low heat and let it sit there until the sugar COMPLETELY dissolves.
2. After all the sugar is melted, increase the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the syrup turns a deep golden colour. Dont make it too dark, else it will taste bitter.
3. Remove the pan from heat. Wearing oven mitts, pour caramel into a 1 quart (litre) mold and tip and turn the mold to coat the caramel evenly on sides and bottom. In case if the caramel hardens before you can spread it, place it on low heat until it reaches a consistency that is pourable. Keep it aside.
To make the Custard pudding:
1.Place milk and semolina (if using) in a sauce pan and bring it to scalding point stirring constantly. Allow to cool slightly
2. In a bowl, beat eggs lightly to mix yolks. Add vanilla and 4 Tbs of sugar and stir. Gradually add in the milk stirring it constantly using a balloon whisk.
3. Strain this custard mixture into caramel coated mold. Cover mold tightly with aluminium foil, securely tied with a twine or ribbon.
4. Pour 1 ½ cup water in the cooker. Place the grid in the cooker and place the mold on the grid.
5. Close cooker and bring to full pressure on high heat. Reduce heat and cook for 10- 15 minutes depending on the cooker.
6. Remove the cooker from heat and allow to cool it naturally. Open the cooker, take out the mold (Custard will continue to set as it cools). Allow to cool at room temperature and refrigerate.
7. Run knife all around the set pudding to loosen them from the mold if necessary. Place a large serving dish (big enough to accommodate the caramel sauce) on top of the mold and invert. Shake gently to release. Remove the mold and serve the custard chilled.