This Chica Caramello makes Crème Caramel [Mmmuahh]

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Crème Caramel (Caramel Custard) Recipe by

Modified Version of Chef John's recipe
So! Everyone's dieting!

Why am I feeling so indignant about it? Well, it's just that a) I am not dieting (not that I ever tried and really, I am quite the contrarian) and b) all this healthy eating has its own specific leftover situation in the kitchen.

And, that's plain wrong. Case in point. Eggs.

Egg whites are all the rage for a diet, ignoring the actually super-nutritious egg yolk. Sigh. Other than people ignoring my harrumphing about how good egg yolks are for you, it seems like in this age of deaf ears, I am left to deal with these abandoned yellowy symbols of sunshine.

And, before anyone butts in, I don't like wasting perfectly good food. Usually, when I have egg yolks left over from a recipe or two, like meringues and such, I usually make a few cups of chocolate pudding that goes over really well with folks. However, I wanted to change it up a little bit since I am not much of a chocolate person. Yeah, yeah, I know - the horror! {deadpan face}

So, today we are making crème caramel or caramel custard, as it is more commonly known here.

The Inspiration

Usually, I follow Chef John's Crème Caramel recipe exactly, down to the alcohol and the cooking spray (I love my Misto!). In his recipe, he uses crème fraîche and Grand Marnier, which is an orange flavored cognac. The recipe you're about to read is a slight detour from Chef John's original recipe. Now, I always have crème fraîche stocked up that I make from scratch at home,... well, just because I can. But, I wanted to experiment with making this without these two ingredients and looks like it worked out!

What's the chemistry? How does it work?

The trick to this recipe is to balance the acidity in such a way that it enables the slow and homogeneous cooking of the egg yolks with the wholesomeness of the milky products, resulting in a creamy texture with a slight hint of vanilla and a touch of toffee from the caramel. And, in this recipe, a little orangey-ness too!

Stories, Commentary, and Helpful Hints

The season for oranges and their colorful citrusy smell is sadly over. However, during the season - for oranges - I'm usually storing up all the peels to dry them. Why? Well, have you never tried my famous orange herbal tea? Umm, okay - holler at me if you want the recipe. Anyhoo, you can also powder the dried orange peels for beauty peel-off face masks. So you'll need some of that. Now, if you haven't compulsively stored orange peels like moi, you could substitute it in the recipe with 1 tsp of lemon zest. Depending on the strength of the vanilla extract, you may want to play around with either adding 1/2 or a full teaspoon of it. Now, if you don't use a cooking spray, simply take a paper towel, dab a corner of it with your cooking oil and wipe down the bowls with it. Make sure the ramekins or microwave proof porcelain bowls are completely dry. For some reason, I enjoyed eating this with one of those chocolate hearts from earlier. I know what you're thinking - chocolate, eh? But hey, I'm not heart-less. Get it? Huh huh? [I'll see myself out, thanks]


1/2 tsp Vegetable Oil, wiped down or sprayed 1/2 cup Granulated White Sugar 3 Large Egg Yolks 1 Large Egg 1/4 cup White Caster Sugar Pinch of Salt 1/2 tsp Dried Orange Peel, powdered OR Fresh Lemon Zest 2 tbsp Yogurt or Curd, strained 1 tbsp Lemon Juice OR Orange Juice 1 tbsp Heavy Milk Cream 1/2 cup Whole Milk 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence


Large Mixing Bowl Whisk Non-stick Frying Pan 4 Microwave proof porcelain bowls Paper towel Strainer Tap water Large Baking Pan 1 Spoon, to eat it all up! Microwave oven (optional) Silicone mat (optional)

Time taken

Prep time: Inactive time: Cooking time: Total time:


4 servings of Crème Caramel

Storage Instructions

Turn over the still warm Crème Caramel onto plates and cool them in a refrigerator. Stays good for a couple of days. You wouldn't get that far though.


1. Preheat a convection oven to 330 °F or 165 °C and install a rack in the center of the oven or in the second slot from the bottom.

2. Use a cooking spray on four microwave-proof bowls or ramekins. Alternatively, you could soak the corner of a paper towel with vegetable oil and wipe the inside of the bowls.

3. Place the oiled bowls or ramekins inside a large baking pan and fill the bottom of the pan with tap water so that the water level reaches halfway up.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg, with 1/4 cup white caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Just from experience, I beat for a good two minutes for a beautiful creamy texture for when it is baked.

5. Now whisk in the rest of the ingredients except the vanilla extract until it's integrated; That is, powdered dried orange peel, strained yoghurt, orange juice, milk cream, and whole milk.

6. Mix in the vanilla essence and keep the bowl aside.

7. In a dry frying pan on low to medium heat, pour in a 1/2 cup of white sugar and let the pan stay on the burner undisturbed until you see a brownish ring form around the edges, meaning the sugar has started to melt. Be patient. This could take as long as five minutes depending on where you live.

8. At this point, move the pan around and keep swirling the melting sugar around until all of the granulated sugar has melted into a flowing brown liquid. Be careful not to use any utensils. Don't wait at this point and quickly distribute this liquid into the four prepared bowls.

9. Without further delay, pour in equal amounts of the egg batter into the four bowls, which should make them about three quarters full.

10. Carefully place the baking pan with the bowls in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center of the bowl doesn't jiggle when you shake it a little.

11. Take the ramekins out of the oven and while it's still warm, carefully (!) run a knife all the way around the edges of the custard until you see some of the caramel from the bottom of the bowl bubble up to the sides. That's how you know it's loosened.

12. Quickly turn over the Crème Caramel onto dry plates and keep them in the fridge to chill. Therefore, serve chilled. ;-)

*A little sharing: That white porcelain spoon you see in the pictures was my Grandmother's who was very particular about using porcelain crockery when serving food. It's over 60 years old. Something she couldn't shake off from the old world culture, I suppose. I only have 4 of them left. Le sigh. 

Like Chef John shows, you could microwave what's left in the bowl for about 30 seconds on high and create beautiful sugar patterns on a silicone mat to decorate the top of your Crème Caramel. I'm not a fan of this method but as you can see from the picture, I tried and was bad at it. I usually prefer to just put some pink cotton candy on top when I've guests come over.  Sugar overload!