“Crème caramel has been my favourite dessert since I was nine and I often requested it from my mum in place of a birthday cake,” she says.
“I can easily wolf down half of this amount in a sitting and have the remainder for breakfast!
“The traditional French method dictates that it’s made entirely of milk, which produces a more delicate texture, but this is my mum’s recipe, the one I grew up eating and the one I love.”
See details of Poh’s Parisian Crunch Club dinner and other Adelaide Central Market Bastille Day events below.
Feeds 6-8 (technically)
Special equipment: 20cm round cake tin + any largish baking dish that the cake tin can sit comfortably in.
¼ cup (60mL) water
1 cup (230g) caster sugar
2 tablespoons boiled water
2 cups (500mL) milk
½ cup (125mL) cream
½ cup (115g) caster sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste OR natural vanilla extract
Strawberries, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 140C or 130C fan-forced
To make the caramel, mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved then boil for about 10 minutes OR until the mixture is syrupy and begins to turn golden.
The tricky bit starts now! I love my caramel slightly burnt because the bitterness adds a lovely depth to the flavour, but you must be attentive or your caramel will go from the most beautiful amber to black and smoking within a second. As soon as the colour you want is achieved, remove from the heat, and, wearing oven mitts for protection, add the boiling water. Stand right back as the sugar mixture will froth up and spit aggressively but it will calm down just as quickly. ‘Dousing’ stops the sugar from cooking any further and loosens the caramel – otherwise more than half will stick to the tin. Tip the caramel into the cake tin and allow to cool a little before refrigerating.
To make the custard, bring the milk and cream to the boil in a medium saucepan, and then allow to cool slightly.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until just combined. Add the hot milk and cream to the egg mixture, mix with a whisk and pour through a sieve into the caramel-coated tin.
To create a Bain Marie, place the tin in a large baking dish and fill the space between them with enough hot water to reach halfway up the side of the tin. Bake for about 60minutes OR until just set (see note below*). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely for about 2 hours before chilling.
To turn out the crème caramel, run a knife around the inside of the tin or use your fingers to gently push and ease it away from the sides, then jiggle the tin gently and you should feel the custard release completely. Cover the tin with a serving plate and turn over in one swift moment. Slice and serve plain or with strawberries.
*When I say ‘set’, look out for what’s still a very wobbly texture, however if you can see the liquid rippling under the skin of the custard when you shake the tin a little, the custard needs to be cooked further.
Poh Ling Yeow will host Parisian Crunch Club – a six-course French meal – at Jamface in the Adelaide Central Market on Bastille Day (July 14). Details and bookings here. This Facebook page has details of other Bastille Day events at the market, including a crepe pop-up, a tasting table and cooking demonstrations.
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