Classic Crème Caramel

From America's Test Kitchen Season 9: Puddings—from Simple to Spectacular

Why this recipe works:

For our crème caramel recipe, we wanted a custard that was creamy and tender enough to melt in our mouths, yet firm enough to unmold without collapsing on the serving plate. The most important part of the crème caramel recipe, we discovered, is the proportion of egg whites to egg yolks. Too… read more

For our crème caramel recipe, we wanted a custard that was creamy and tender enough to melt in our mouths, yet firm enough to unmold without collapsing on the serving plate. The most important part of the crème caramel recipe, we discovered, is the proportion of egg whites to egg yolks. Too many whites produced a rubbery, almost solid custard; too few and our custard collapsed. Creating a custard that's creamy and smooth also depends on maintaining a gentle heating environment; this was provided by baking the custard in a water bath, a traditional procedure for custard.

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Serves 8

Though you can make one large creme caramel, we find that custards baked in individual ramekins cook faster, are more evenly textured, and unmold more easily. You can vary the amount of sugar in the custard to suit your taste. Most tasters preferred the full two-thirds cup, but you can reduce that amount to as little as one-half cup to create a greater contrast between the custard and the sweetness of the caramel. Cook the caramel in a pan with a light-colored interior, since a dark surface makes it difficult to judge the color of the syrup. Caramel can leave a real mess in a pan, but it is easy to clean. Simply boil lots of water in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen the hardened caramel.

Ingredients

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