Easy Silky Crème Caramel aka Leche Flan or Caramel Custard




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I can’t think of anything simpler to make than this easy silky smooth crème caramel also known as leche flan or caramel custard.  It’s a luscious dessert topped with caramel syrup that will have everyone asking for seconds.   A recipe that can easily be halved, it uses just four whole large eggs.
Caramel custard can be steamed on the stove top, but since I don’t have a steamer, I baked mine in a bain marie.

A simple and easy recipe for silky crème caramel also known as leche flan or caramel custard will have everyone asking for more.

Ingredients
  • For the caramel syrup:
  • 1 cup sugar (210 g)
  • ¼ cup water (65 g)
  • For the custard:
  • 4 large whole eggs
  • 2 cans evaporated milk (12 fl oz / 354 ml per can)
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk (14 oz / 397 g per can)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Equipment needed:
  • 4 -5 oven proof pyrex baking dishes or ramekins – preferably smaller than 5 inches in diameter
  • Water bath (bain marie) – roasting pan or lasagna pan large enough to hold the baking dishes
  • Tongs for uncovering the baking dishes
  • Food processor or wire whisk

Directions
  1. Position the baking rack to the lowest level just above the heating element. Preheat oven to 350°F. Have your oven proof baking dishes and the large pan for the water bath ready.
  2. For the caramel syrup:
  3. Pour the water over the sugar in a small sauce pot. Swirl the pot to dampen the sugar. You don’t have to stir. Turn the heat on to medium high and let the mixture boil. After about 8 – 10 minutes, when the syrup starts to turn a light golden amber color, remove the pot from the heat and divide the syrup among the baking dishes. Pour syrup just enough to coat the bottom of each baking dish. The caramel will harden within a few seconds.
  4. For the custard:
  5. Prepare the hot water for the water bath. Fill a kettle with water and let boil while you prepare the crème caramel.
  6. Give the eggs a few quick pulses in a food processor to blend. Add one can of evaporated milk and pulse together with the eggs. Then add the rest of the evaporated milk, the condensed milk and the vanilla extract. Pulse until well blended. Run a knife or spatula to break up any foam or bubbles on the surface. The fewer the bubbles, the smoother the custard will be.
  7. Pour the milk mixture over the hardened caramel syrup in each baking dish. Cover each dish with aluminum foil. Arrange the baking dishes in a large pan. Place the pan in the oven then pour the entire kettle of hot water into the water bath. Make sure to wear oven mitts to avoid burning yourself.
  8. Bake for 65 minutes covered. Lower the temperature to 300°F. Wear your oven mitts and remove the foil from each baking dish using a pair of long tongs. Bake for an additional 30 – 35 minutes uncovered.
  9. The custard is done when the edges are firm. If you give it a shake and the center wobbles just slightly, it’s ok as it will continue to set from the internal heat. The color will be a very pale yellow just slightly darker than before it was baked.
  10. Remove from the oven and let the baking dishes cool completely. Ideally, let them chill in the fridge covered overnight before turning out.
  11. Slide a knife around the edge of each baking dish. Place a plate on top and invert the dish to turn out the crème caramel. If the crème caramel doesn’t slide out right away, don’t worry, just run the knife around the edge again. Sometimes there is a suction that holds the custard, but once that is broken by sliding the knife around the edge again, it will detach from the dish very easily.
  12. Use an overturned bowl to cover each custard and keep chilled.
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