We can’t resist this classic French crème caramel recipe infused with cardamom and vanilla, from Héloïse Brion’s beautiful cookbook ‘Miss Maggie’s Kitchen’
IMAGE: © CHRISTOPHE ROUÉ
Named after her maternal grandmother, Héloïse Brion’s classic crème caramel recipe holds a special place in her heart. We love her philosophy on food and life, as she shares in her beautiful cookbook Miss Maggie’s Kitchen: “Sharing is essential in my life—a favourite spot; a moment halfway around the world or at the local café; ideas and dreams; expertise; and, especially, beloved recipes and good meals. The meal is a universal shared moment.
“In the kitchen and around the table, we experience a wide range of emotions together with those we love; these essential life lessons make us who we are. Meals also evoke memories—a scent can catch us by surprise and remind us of an event, place, or person that had seemed buried in our minds. That is the power of food.”
Lily’s Crème Caramel
- 1 cup (7 oz./200 g) superfine sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp lemon juice preferably organic
- 6 eggs
- 4 cups (1 L) milk
- 1 tsp (about 10) cardamom pods
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise and seeds scraped
- Combine half of the sugar with the water and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear, and then boil until it caramelizes.
- Immediately pour the caramel into a 10-inch (26-cm) round ceramic baking dish, cake pan, or silicone mold. Swirl to coat the base of the dish, pan, or mold evenly and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C/Gas Mark 3). In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the remaining sugar.
- Place the milk in a saucepan with the cardamom pods and vanilla seeds; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.
- Let the milk cool for 5 minutes, then slowly pour it into the egg-sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Pour over the caramel in the baking dish, pan, or mold.
- Place in a large baking dish with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the round dish, pan, or mold. Bake for 50 minutes, until the custard is just set.
- Remove the pan from the hot water bath and delicately run a knife along the edges to release the custard. Carefully turn out onto a rimmed serving plate and leave to cool. Serve well chilled.
Extracted from Miss Maggie’s Kitchen: Relaxed French Entertaining by Héloïse Brion (Flammarion, 2020).*
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