You're In A French Restaurant Circa 1980...
The Boys Do Bake Off - Series 3, Ep.4 - Dessert Week
It's a blast from that past that has fond memories for anyone born before miners strikes, Ford Capris and perms were the order of the day. These European treats were Mary's challenge for the Bakers as they were fighting their way through series three's 'Dessert' week.
The crème caramel, also known as flan or crema Catalana, is a just set vanilla custard with a self saucing caramel sauce. There are many variations on the classic, but all use some combination of sugar, milk (or cream) and eggs. Ever in search of perfection the Gents shunned Mary Berry's own recipe (cue the gasps and shock) in favour of Felicity Cloake's '...perfect crème caramel'.
Start by buttering your dish or dishes. We've used dariols, but ramekins are a classic, but so classic we don't own any (cue second round of gasps and shock)! Meanwhile heat your milk (with a vanilla pod) until it just reaches a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside (adding vanilla bean paste if you're not using a pod).
For the caramel place equal parts caster and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and enough water to barely cover. Bring to a simmer and take off the heat once it's dark and nutty. Working quickly, pour your caramel into your moulds, ensuring you've covered the bases. Set aside to cool.
Whisk your eggs and yolks with your caster sugar until light and foamy before pouring over your warm vanilla milk. Whisk continuously then leave to settle for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 150C (we cooked ours at 130C fan as we have a very hot oven) and boil your kettle for your bain-marie.
Skim the foam from your milk and pour through a sieve into a jug. Skim off any remaining foam before carefully filling your moulds. Our caramel was a little under (so slightly soft) so we poured over the back of a spoon. Cover tightly with foil before baking in your bain-marie for 27-30 minutes, removing the foil after 15 minutes. Once cooked, cool before transferring to a fridge until you're ready to serve.
Et voilà! Madame et monsieur, your dessert if you please...