For 16 small ramekins (125 ml each), or altogether about 2 l of crème you need
- 2x200g g sugar
- water (a little, 95 ml?)
- 1 l milk
- 4 eggs
- 8 egg yolks
- 2 vanilla pods
- zest of 1 sizable orange
Caramel in the traditional way:
- Place 200g of sugar and water in a small saucepan on medium heat. Do not stir. You can rotate the saucepan gently – yet it is best not to interfere with he melting and caramelizing process. Let it do its thing but watch it like a hawk. It will change colour and you must be there when it starts turning brown. When it does, remove it from the heat immediately.
- Let it cool down slightly
Caramel as done by Wojtek, using the microwave:
- Place 200 g of sugar and water in a glass bowl and stir it with the wooden (bamboo?) stick.
- Place the whole thing (with the stick) in the microwave and turn on the regular heat. Stir every 5 min or so. Watch it like a hawk! Seconds may make w huge difference!
Once caramel is resting
- Place the ramekins in the deep roasting dish.
- Distribute the caramel among the ramekins – each ramekin bottom should be covered by a 2-3 mm deep layer of the caramel. As they cool down the caramel with solidify.
- Bring milk and vanilla pods to boil on medium heat. Remove from heat.
- Set the oven to 150C/310F.
- Place the remaining 200 g of sugar, eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl.
- Whisk sugar and eggs – they do not need the beating effect, just be well mixed and the sugar diluted as much as possible.
- Add the milk and the orange zest to the sweet eggy concoction and mix thoroughly.
- Now you can delicately brush the inside walls of the ramekins with some oil or butter – very thin layer, if at all. It makes the future removal of the creme much easier, but it is not an essential chore..
- Pour the mixture through a sieve into a jar or a bowl. The sieve with stop the vanilla pods and the orange zest – you may choose to press the orange peel gently to extract as much flavour as possible into the creme.
- Now distribute the liquid evenly among all the ramekins.
- Pour cold water into the roasting pan (avoid pouring it into the ramekins!) up to about 2/3 height of the ramekins (bain-marie method of baking..).
- Place the whole roaster carefully in the hot oven and let it bake for about 1 hour (or until the centre of the ramekin is almost ‘set’ – ceases to be liquid)..
- Once baked, remove ramekins from the hot bath (carefully!) and let cool down. They must stay in the fridge for at least 2 hours or, better yet, overnight.
To serve turn the ramekin upside down over a flat plate and ease out the creme. The caramel should float freely over the custard.. Bon Appetit!