No other dessert had spray the sweet gospel of pastry all over the world than the creme caramel. You can find it on many bistros, tapas bars and Gaststattes menu and many country claims it was invented there. Probably the Spanish are the ones responsible to bring those little rich flans all over the globe as far as Central and south America and the Philippines. Centuries before Il Bulli put Spanish cuisine on the forefront of culinary delight, the Conquistadors where busy whipping eggs, sugar and milk and local spices.
Ingredients - Serves 6 to 8
For the custard:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated orange zest
1 pinch cinnamon
15 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
For the caramel coating:
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
We will prepare first the caramel to coat the ramequin molds. The molds are approximately a cup in size.
Pour the water and sugar in a heavy sauce pan and mix lightly to be sure sugar is well mix with the water. Place the pot over medium heat and cook until it takes a nice dark blond amber color. Do not stir too much or whisk the sugar during this process or it will crystallizes.
Pour the caramel into the ramequins, about one 1/6 of an inch thick, and be sure the caramel cover the whole bottom of the mold.
Place the ramequin into a deep tray.
Pre heat the oven to 295ºF
Then, let's prepare the créme caramel mix. In a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil milk, cream and orange zest.
Using a hand whisk, mix the eggs, sugar and ground cinnamon in a large bowl, big enough to accommodate the entire mix. Pour the boiled mix on the eggs mixture and mix until smooth. Pass through a fine mesh strainer.
Using a ladle, fill each mold almost to the top with the créme caramel mix.
Pour warm water in the deep tray, the water coming up to at least 3/4 of the high of the mold.
Place the deep tray in the heated oven and bake for about 1 hour or until the top feels firm. You can use a small knife and use it to poke the custard to see if the bottom is cooked.
Be careful when removing the tray from the oven as you do not want hot water splashing on your hands and place on a rack to cool down. Place the baked créme caramels (still in their mold) on a different tray and place in fridge to cool down at least 6 hours. I prefer letting them cool overnight. A no rush approach for way better result.
Run the blade of a small knife around the molds to free them and flip on a small place.
You might need to shake it a little for the custard to free themselves.
Best served the way it is or with a few berries!