Saturday, September 20, 2014

Creme Caramel - slow baked

I have had a severe multi-dose of procrastination, indecisiveness and writer's block - all of which I am going to use as my excuse for the long gap from the last post. It's not all hopeless. I got over the indecisiveness when I ticked the voting paper today for the NZ general election.  I also knew whether I would have voted aye or nae for Scottish independence but sadly expat Scots, who really still care about their beloved country's future, were not given the vote.

Back home when I was a child I would not have given the vote to creme caramels.  I hated them with a passion and don't remember why.  I think it was just the taste, which is everything really.

Late last year in Ortolana restaurant, I ordered a salted caramel flan and got it into my head that I was ordering a pastry tart filled with custard and strawberries (I know, I'm a little mixed up at times). I had to be convinced I had ordered it when it arrived and glumly tried it.  It was nice in the way that it was better than I'd expected but wasn't quite what I'd had in mind.

So it still seems a little strange that I'd want to make these creme caramels, but I had half a tin of sweetened condensed milk I wanted to use and, bingo, saw this recipe and thought "why not?". (Be assured I don't vote for political parties in the same flippant manner.)

The result is that the caramel sauce worked (I thought I'd burnt it at first), the custard set, they were easy to bake and looked pretty good (but would look much prettier with some added decoration e.g. fresh or marinated strawberries which I didn't have). 

Once baked, they just had to languish overnight in the fridge. Ideal for do-ahead desserts. Oh, and I did like them and can't imagine why I didn't before?

Creme Caramels

Makes 4

1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 a 400g tin of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Turn your slow cooker onto the HIGH setting.  Pour in 2 cups of hot tap water.  

Lightly spray or grease 4 ramekins, cups or small bowls (which can hold 3/4 cup of water). Check beforehand that they fit in the slow cooker (I used two upturned tiny soy sauce bowls to allow two of the ramekins to be at a different level so they would all fit in).

For the caramel: Heat the sugar over moderate heat in a medium saucepan, preferably with a pouring spout.  DO NOT STIR.  Tilt the pan carefully to ensure all the sugar melts evenly and turns golden brown. As soon as it reaches that stage and still without stirring, pour equal amounts into the bottoms of the ramekins.

Place the eggs, milk, condensed milk and vanilla into a mixing jug or bowl and beat until combined but not frothy. Pour this mixture through a fine sieve into the ramekins.

Carefully place the filled ramekins into the slow cooker.  Put the lid back on the slow cooker and turn the setting to LOW. Cook for 4 hours or until custards set.

Once set, turn off the slow cooker and carefully lift out the bowls.  Cover with plastic film and leave overnight in the fridge.  Remove from the fridge half an hour before serving.

To turn out the custards, run a small palette knife or similar, around the top.  I turned them out onto a flat, stainless steel pastry scraper so I could easily transfer them to a serving plate. Otherwise you can scoop them out onto your hand (I did not trust myself with this!).

And there you have it, a caramel topped custard with a pool of caramel sauce.

Recipe from Slow Cookers & Crockpots by Simon & Alison Holst

This is my entry for September's Sweet New Zealand hosted by Karen at Mummy Do It (I remember those words!).


  1. Great entry for Sweet New Zealand, and one of my favourite desserts!
    Are you keen to host October?


  2. I have always loved creme caramel, but conversely I've never made one. Voting rules for Scotland did seem a little strange. I hadn't realised there was a national election in NZ, so that's interesting.