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Caramel in Flan & Creme Caramel


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I make the whole thing at least a day or two before I need it to serve, because the custard will dissolve the caramel so that you get a nice sauce when you invert it on the plate--not to mention that it removes most of the caramel from the ramekin that way, so you don't waste it soaking the ramekins overnight to clean them! :)

It's not the destination, but the journey!
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Hey, I'd love a yummy creme caramel recipe.  Would you post here or in the eGRA?

Thanks.

I use this recipe interchangeably for Creme Brulee and Creme Caramel

For the Creme Caramel, I omit the sugar at the end for torching, and begin with 1 1/2 c sugar in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat. I swirl the pan occasionally to evenly distribute the heat until it begins to melt and caramelize, thenn I either stir it slowly with a wooden spoon, or swirl it gently to keep the sugar moving and melting evenly. When it's all melted and the proper medium golden brown color(I like it the color of Cream Soda or Bourbon--any darker and it will taste bitter) I pour it into the bottoms of the ramekins and let them sit to harden while I make the custard. Once they are cooked, I cool them to room temp, them cover and refrigerate them for at least 24 hours, preferrably 48 before inverting on the plate and garnishing with some fresh whipped cream and whatever berries or mint leaves and things you like to garnish your plate with.

Very yummy!

Creme Brûlée

makes 6 servings

3 c Heavy Cream

5 Egg yolks

1/2 c. Sugar

1/2 Vanilla bean (or 2 tsp Real Vanilla extract)

1/4 c. Brown or white sugar for the carmelized crust

Preheat your oven to 350E. Separate 5 Eggs, setting aside the whites for egg-white omelettes or other projects

Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, combine all with the cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan..

Cook over low heat until it comes barely to a boil. Add a small amount to the eggs to temper. Then whisk the remaining liquid into the eggs slowly--try not to make it foamy.

Fill 4 oz. ramekins (for Creme Caramel--ramekins with caramelized sugar lining the bottoms)set in a dishtowel-lined Bain-Marie (a big roasting pan filled with water about 1/3 of the way up the ramekins). Place the bain-marie in an oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean. Place the ramekins in refrigerator until ready to serve. Spread one tablespoon of brown or white sugar on top of each custard evenly and use a torch or broiler to caramelize sugar (omit this step for Creme Caramel)

It's not the destination, but the journey!
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Creme brulee and creme caramel should be very different in texture from each other. I don't believe one can get a true creme caramel using heavy cream. Milk is the right dairy for it.

So Wendy, would you just use the previous recipe with milk instead of cream for a creme caramel or do you have another recipe/method you could share?

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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I adore creme caramel and am tired of creme brulee not to mention the numerous times I have been served vanilla pudding that had been torched and passed off as the real thing.

The best creme caramel I ever had was at a hotel in London Ontario in the middle of a storm and hockey tournament. There was practically no one in the dining room but the waiter was really working it. When we ordered the creme caramel he swanned over and topped it with whipped cream and a generous pour of Tia Maria. He got a great tip and I have a great memory.

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I have a recipe that I always use that I like alot. I won't stray away from it unless I read raves about another recipe.

I'm not sure if it's on her site, but the recipe I like is from Martha Stewart. I got it out of the magazine sometime over this past year. If you can't find it, I'll post it for you here at a later date..........it's past bed time. Just ask, ok?

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Creme brulee and creme caramel should be very different in texture from each other. I don't believe one can get a true creme caramel using heavy cream. Milk is the right dairy for it.

I really like the texture--perhaps it's just personal preference, but they do seem different to me when you make the caramel in the bottom, than when you torch the sugar on the top. I also make my creme brulee and creme caramel in the same ramekins--short and fat rather than shallow rounds or ovals. No complaints and many raves, so I must be doing something right (even if technically incorrect). I have made recipes with milk and they just seem flat and eggy (not really a custard fan).

It's not the destination, but the journey!
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I have a recipe that I always use that I like alot. I won't stray away from it unless I read raves about another recipe.

I'm not sure if it's on her site, but the recipe I like is from Martha Stewart. I got it out of the magazine sometime over this past year. If you can't find it, I'll post it for you here at a later date..........it's past bed time. Just ask, ok?

I checked Martha's site but couldn't find it so, whenever you get a chance. I'm not having a creme caramel emergency so no pressure but thanks in advance.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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Ignorance is bliss. It's been years since I've had Creme Caramel (flan). My husband volunteered me to make one for a party this weekend. So, I read up a bit and gave it my first attempt on Monday...

The recipe called for 2 cups of sugar and a tablespoon or two of water to make the caramel. I didn't read enough or I read too much and I retained the wrong things. I heated the sugar and stirred with a wooden spoon. Eventually I got a bunch of lumps. I figured that this is what's supposed to happen and continued cooking. It turned a very nice brown color but it hadn't boiled yet and one recipe said to boil it for 8 minutes. After two or three minutes of boiling, the color was too dark. :shock: End of experiment one.

For experiment two, I did the same thing except I stopped before it boiled. :biggrin: Pretty smart, huh? The sugar was not burnt but it was very hot. I assumed this was normal. I dug out an 8" round All Clad cake pan and poured in the caramel. Swirled it around to coat the sides. Had way too much and poured off some of the excess onto another cakepan. It looked kind of like shellac. :cool: I mixed up the custard. Eggs, sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk. Poured it in and baked it in a water bath. The caramel had melted so I decided that I must have done that part okay.

So, I let it sit in the fridge until last night. I flipped in onto a big serving plate that would hold the sauce. Way too much sauce. And runny. I still have no idea what the caramel should look like at this stage but I think it shouldn't be like colored water.

I took a bite. :wub: Ignorance is bliss. I may have done the caramel all wrong but the end result is wonderful. The coconut milk makes this dish.

Experiment three will take place later today.

- kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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  • 1 year later...

My dad has made this recipe for creme caramel a couple of times and keeps getting a too-solid caramel layer. Instead of being thickly liquidy, it comes out almost like caramel candy - chewy. He asked me (I'm honored that he thinks I might know) what would cause it and how to fix it. I made sure that he was cooking in a water bath - he is - and suggested maybe using a tiny bit let sugar in that layer, but I don't have any other ideas. Can someone else chime in, 'cause I am finished with all of my expertise :wacko: ! Ta, Kim.

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Hmmm...looking at the recipe, I see it calls for water and lemon juice to make the caramel. I never used anything but just granulated sugar. The water may make it chewy if it's not cooked all the way out. The lemon juice is to help prevent the sugar from crystalizing in the water as it boils, so that may contribute to the chewiness--you could do without that and the water and make a nice simple caramel.

Other than that, the desired effect is for the caramel layer to dissolving into sauce when you serve the custard. What makes that happen is making sure it's really caramelized to very dark golden brown--like the color of good mapke syrup or very dark honey, and then, making sure you're using the proper size ramekins--too narrow will make it very thick and it will take much longer to dissolve properly in the moisture from the custard. The next thing is making sure you wait long enough before inverting it. The longer you wait, the more it "melts" into the caramel sauce when you invert it. At least that's been my experience. We always made them at least the day before we needed them to be sure to get the maximum 'sauce' out of the ramekin when we inverted them onto the plates.

I never had it come out chewy no matter what I did or what recipe I followed, because whatever didn't scome out as 'sauce', stuck to the bottom of the remekin and had to soak for hours to remove.

Edited by chefcyn (log)
It's not the destination, but the journey!
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The one I make uses more yolks than eggs first ( if not you get the egg taste),and the caramel is made with sugar , you really dont need the lemon , you can use a little bit of water if not to comfortable making dry caramel , and that works just fine,usually some of the caramel stays in the pan after you demold it , and thats normal.I dont think this recipe is the best to go for .

Vanessa

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I do it the Julia Child/Jaque Pepin way and discard the caramel sauce from the ramekin completely. By the time it's finished baking, it's watery and not very good. It's only useful to colour and flavour the custard. Instead, I make twice as much caramel as I need and reserve some and add in a bit of water to make a nice, thick caramel sauce. Discard the watery stuff and pour the nice thick stuff over the top. Sugar is cheap and more caramel is easier to cook than less caramel so why not? I also used to keep a stash of caramel sauce on hand at all times for micro-adjusting the flavour of dishes and I would replenish it whenever I made creme caramel.

PS: I am a guy.

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My dad has made this recipe for creme caramel a couple of times and keeps getting a too-solid caramel layer.  Instead of being thickly liquidy, it comes out almost like caramel candy - chewy.  He asked me (I'm honored that he thinks I might know) what would cause it and how to fix it.  I made sure that he was cooking in a water bath - he is - and suggested maybe using a tiny bit let sugar in that layer, but I don't have any other ideas.  Can someone else chime in, 'cause I am finished with all of my expertise  :wacko: !  Ta, Kim.

In my opinion, the most likely cause is the one you mentioned -- simply putting to much caramel on the bottom. I've done exactly the same thing. I don't think that the lemon juice has anything to do with it.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Hmmm...looking at the recipe, I see it calls for water and lemon juice to make the caramel.  I never used anything but just granulated sugar.  The water may make it chewy if it's not cooked all the way out.

I don't see how. By the time a sucrose+water solution reaches the hard crack stage, 300-310F, the solution is already 99% sucrose. By the time the sugar reaches the temps at which you get a dark caramelization, 350F+, essentially no water is left. I make caramel all the time with water, and it turns out hard and brittle, just like it does with the dry caramelization method.

Chewy is a sign that the caramel has absorbed some water. As it absorbs even more, it will become saucy, the way caramel on creme caramel should be. The thicker the caramel layer, the longer it will take for the caramel to get past the chewy stage into the saucy stage. Let the thick chewy caramel sit long enough and absorb more moisture, and it will eventually become saucy.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I don't see how. By the time a sucrose+water solution reaches the hard crack stage, 300-310F, the solution is already 99% sucrose. By the time the sugar reaches the temps at which you get a dark caramelization, 350F+, essentially no water is left. I make caramel all the time with water, and it turns out hard and brittle, just like it does with the dry caramelization method.

You're always right on, Patrick!

I always say if you're going to make a caramel.....do it dry. It doesn't take nearly as long, and you don't have to mess with brushing down the sides of the pot in the early stages of the boil. It's so darn easy too. Really, the only time you want to start with a sugar/water solution is if you are going to cook the sugar BELOW the caramel stage, or if you want a very light caramel. But if you want caramel just start with dry sugar! It really saves time.

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My great aunt, who was Brazilian and lived there made the best flan I have ever had and it is the only recipe I use. Sorry if the English is a bit wanky, but this is a translation from Portuguese and I am too tired to make it look better. I will put a better version in RecipeGullet tomorrow.

Brazilian Flan

Serves 10

Caramel:

Place 1c. Sugar in a tube pan, sprinkle with water, to dampen. Place over medium heat until medium brown. Turn off the fire and let it cool.

Custard:

2 cans condensed milk

1 can of whole milk

12 eggs

2 tsp quality vanilla

I use a blender, but for this amount of eggs and milk if you want to do it all at one time use a large bowl. After emptying cans of condensed milk, fill with whole milk and add eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into tube pan.

Place tube pan in pan of water for baking. To prevent pan from discoloring, add lemon juice to the water.

Bake at 275 F (140C) until a knife in the center comes out clean. It should take an hour and a half or a little longer.

After removing the flan from the oven remove from pan of water and let cool. Place in refrigerator until cold. To serve, run knife around edge of pan and around the tube. Set the pan on the range top on high heat constantly jiggling. This melts the caramel and forms the gravy.

This recipe can easily be cut in half and you can use the same flan pan.

ENJOY!

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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  • 1 year later...

Greetings to all.

I've made flan for most of my life and I never know when the caramel used to coat the mold will leave a crust on the bottom like brittle candy. It never happens on the sides, just the bottom.

Does anyone know why it does this?

Sandra

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I make flans often. It helps to make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge. The crust softens.

Last time I made it I used Dorie Greenspan's tip of putting the dish in the oven to warm while making the carmel. It seemed to help. From this I assumed the crust has to do with the hot carmel hitting a cold dish - but I am not a scientist :biggrin:

Life is short, eat dessert first

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I make flans often.  It helps to make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge.  The crust softens.

Last time I made it I used Dorie Greenspan's tip of putting the dish in the oven to warm while making the carmel.  It seemed to help.  From this I assumed the crust has to do with the hot carmel hitting a cold dish - but I am not a scientist  :biggrin:

I've made a lot of flans of various types. Yes, it's cracking because of the difference in temperature. But that has never made any difference to my flans. Sitting in the wet, warm loveliness of the baking custard has always softened it up quite nicely and I always get that bit of runny caramel in which it sits once you've upended it onto a plate.

Do you use water when you make the custard, or do you just melt the sugar? I like the caramel almost burnt. Anyone else?

Lonnie

"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

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