How about a crème caramel (crème caramel renversée) for dessert tonight? We have an easy creme caramel recipe for you! Closely related to the elegant crème brûlée, this down to earth creamy French dessert can be prepared with staples you already have in the kitchen. And, our easy creme caramel recipe can be prepared ahead also – always a plus.
Easy Creme Caramel Recipe (Crème Caramel Renversée)
Crème caramel makes a wonderful dessert for a get together — lovely light dessert after a meal. You can also prepare this easy creme caramel recipe in individual ramekins — looks very pretty and great for portion control too. So check out our easy creme caramel recipe and Art of the Home suggestions below. Enjoy and bon appétit!
For the caramel:
- 1 cup of sugar
- water (enough to wet the sugar — about 1/2 a small glass)
For the flan:
- 2 cups of milk (preferrably whole milk)
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 vanilla bean (cut in half lengthwise). We use a Bourbon Madagascar vanilla bean but you can substitute with 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
The key to make a caramel is not to stir it — the caramel may crystalize if you do and your caramel will be ruined. Simply remove the saucepan from the heat, tilt it and move it with a circular motion from time to time — et voila!
- Put the sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan. Moist with water.
- Cook over medium heat without mixing. You will see the water and sugar bubble as your syrup is starting to boil. Lift the saucepan, tilt it and gently move it in circular motions. When you start smelling the caramel, it is your sign that the caramel will start coloring soon — so let’s pay attention, it goes pretty fast from there. You will soon see the syrup darkening — that is the caramel forming. First you’ll notice a light golden color and at the point, it will darken quickly. Once the caramel gets to a medium brown, remove from heat and pour in the baking pan (e.g. round baking dish or mold) you will be using. Tilt the pan to make sure bottom and sides are nicely coated with caramel. But be careful when tilting the pan, it will get very hot so use heat pads please while handling it. Set aside while you are making the custard.
DIRECTIONS TO MAKE CUSTARD (crème)
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Pour milk in a saucepan. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla grains. Put vanilla grains and vanilla pod in the saucepan (you can use vanilla extract too). Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and set aside. We like to start this step before we start the caramel so the milk has plenty of time to absorb all the vanilla flavor.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs. Mix in sugar.
- Remove vanilla pod from the milk and slowly add in the milk to the eggs and sugar (not too fast otherwise you’ll cook the eggs).
- Pour milk/egg/sugar mixture in the baking pan coated with caramel. You can pass it through a sieve if you don’t prefer to have vanilla grains in your creme caramel but we don’t strain ours.
- Place creme caramel pan in a larger dish and fill dish with hot water to about half the height of your baking pan (i.e. bain marie/water bath). We use a roasting pan filled up with boiling water from our tea kettle but you can use any ovenproof dish you have that is big enough.
- Cook in a bain marie (water bath) in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour or until the creme caramel has set. Check by inserting a toothpick (or knife), it should come out dry when it is ready.
- Remove creme caramel pan from the bain marie. Let it cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- To unmold, gently insert a knife (preferably with a non-serrated thin blade) between the creme caramel and the pan. Place serving plate on top of the creme caramel pan, flip it, and voilà!
A FEW SUGGESTIONS
- Spice it up: when making the custard, in Step 3 of our easy creme caramel recipe, add 1 TBSP of amber rum to add a nice taste to your creme caramel.
- Big crowd: double up the quantity of this easy creme caramel recipe and have enough for more people or leftover for the next day.
- Make it a show: unmold in front of your guests and if you have little ones, ask them to close their eyes, flip the creme caramel, and tell them to open their eyes. They’ll see the caramel slowly run down the side of the creme caramel, magical moment to enjoy across generations!
- Cleaning tip: the pot you used to make the caramel will be coated with hard caramel so fill up the pot with very hot water (boil it if you need too) and it will dissolve. Your pot will be as clean as can be — and voilà!