March 8, 2011

Maple Crème Caramel

If you have a serious sweet tooth, you'll love this recipe. I'm not gonna lie, this was deliciously smooth and I enjoyed every bite, but seriously, it could have used a lot less sugar. I'd recommend lowering the amount of maple syrup for the custard and eliminating the sugar altogether; however, I'm not sure if this will affect the texture of the custard. It could have done without the caramel as well.

Maple Crème Caramel
from Kate Zuckerman's The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle
makes 8 4-oz ramekins

Caramel Molds
2/3 cup sugar
3 T water
pinch of cream of tartar

3/4 cup plus 1 T maple syrup
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
1 egg
1 T sugar

Caramel Molds
Combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a small saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. After a minute of rapid boiling, remove the cover and cook further until the sugar caramelizes and turns a light golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and when the caramel is a deep golden brown, thinly coat the bottom of each ramekin.

Boil the maple syrup until it reaches 240ºF in a saucepan large enough to hold the cream and milk. If you don't have a thermometer, test the syrup after it has boiled, foamed, and reduced a bit. Dip a fork into the syrup and let a drop of it fall onto your counter. It is ready if it dries into a mound, scrapes off cleanly with your fingernail, and is a bit pliable and gummy between your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Add the cream to the maple syrup, then the milk and salt. Bring everything to just under a boil and remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar for a minute. Slowly whisk a bit of the hot maple cream into the eggs until it is the same temperature, then combine the two components. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer (I was lazy and skipped this step--the custard came out fine).

Fill each ramekin 4/5 of the way up with the custard and place in a baking dish. Add enough hot water to the baking dish to reach 2/3 of the way up the outside of the ramekins. Cover the dish and ramekins with aluminum foil, adding some ventilation holes with a knife to let steam escape.

Bake until the custards are set and have a uniform jiggle, about 40-45 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and uncover, and take out the ramekins once they are cool enough to handle. Cover and chill for at least 12 hours.

To remove the custard from the ramekins, fill a small bowl with very hot water and set the ramekins in for 30 seconds. Dip a paring knife in the water and run it around the edge of the custard. Cover with a plate, turn upside down, and the custard should fall out.

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