Crème Caramel is a silky and delicious custard-based pudding, topped with a rich caramel sauce. It’s loved around the world! This version of the classic dessert uses brown sugar and adds a touch of lemon for a little rustic French flair.
For the Pudding
- 4 Eggs
- 2 cups Whole Milk (3%)
- 1/4 cup White Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
- 1/4 tsp Salt
For the Caramel
- 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 3 tbsp Water, plus possibly a few drops to wipe the side of the pan
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F
To make the caramel
- Mix the brown sugar, lemon juice and water in a pan off any heat. Put this mixture over a low heat and allow it to melt. Do not stir. Once the mixture has transformed into that colour, carefully swirl the pan until all the contents have reached your desired caramel hue. (I personally prefer a slightly darker shade of caramel – mixed with the molasses in the brown sugar, the usually uber-sweet caramel gets the slightest bitter-sweet hint in it’s darker hues.)
- Pour immediately into your mold(s). And swirl the liquid caramel in your moulds to cover the entire bottom surface before the caramel sets.
To make the Pudding
- Heat milk in a saucepan. When it starts to boil, lower the heat, and add sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Stir for a minute before taking the mixture off the heat.
- Whisk eggs in a large bowl, and pour in the warm vanilla milk mixture, whisking continuously so that the eggs don’t coagulate from the heat of the mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the caramel-lined molds.
- Place your mold(s) in a bain-marie – put it in a larger oven-proof dish and fill that dish with warm water that rises two thirds of the height of your moulds. Bake for 55-60 minutes.
- The crème caramel should have a slightly bouncy consistency, and be able to maintain its shape if you turn the mould to its side slightly. Remove from the oven and leave out to cool completely. Once cool, put it in the fridge for at least 1-3 hours. You can leave it in the fridge overnight too.
- To serve, gently loosen the sides with a knife, cover the top of the mould with your plate and flip upside down. Enjoy!
Creme Caramel is a great dish to prepare the night before.
- Be careful not to overcook the caramel sauce. The difference between perfect and burnt is around fifteen seconds.
- Don’t stir the caramel sauce! Gently swirl the liquid in the bottom of the saucepan instead.
- You can warm the pudding molds or ramekins in the oven before pouring in the caramel sauce. This will make it easier to spread the caramel liquid and avoid crystallization.
- For the custard, use eggs at room temperature and whole/full cream milk for the best results.
- Beat the eggs until the whites disappear but stop before they become frothy. Try to avoid bubbles in the mixture as much as possible to ensure your custard sets with a smooth, creamy texture.
- Do not serve your Crème Caramel dessert until it has been properly chilled.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: brown sugar creme caramel