Individual Crème Caramel
This is a one-person portion (a man-sized portion almost!) that is made in a 4½ inch (11 cm) ramekin. It is possible, I've discovered, to cook it on top of the stove (see note at end of recipe), but I have to say I've come to the conclusion it's less bother in the oven.
Start off by placing the granulated sugar in a small pan and put it on a medium heat to start melting. It will soon begin to turn brown and then darken. Give it a stir to help dissolve all the granules and when it has started bubbling and has turned a couple of shades darker than golden syrup, take it off the heat and carefully add 1 tablespoon of warm water. It will splutter but soon subside. Stir, and when the syrup is smooth again, quickly pour it into the ramekin.
Now pour the cream and milk into another small pan and leave it to heat while you whisk the egg together with the brown sugar and a drop of vanilla essence in a bowl. When the cream and milk is hot, pour it on to the egg mixture and whisk again thoroughly. Then pour this into the ramekin on top of the caramel. Place the ramekin in a roasting tin, pour an inch or two of boiling water into the tin, then transfer the tin to the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. After that, leave the creme caramel to cool, then chill it in the fridge.
To serve, loosen the edge with a palette knife and invert it on to a serving plate. Note: to cook it on top of the stove, you need to have a saucepan that will take the ramekin with room enough for you to lift it in and out.
When the mixture is ready to be cooked, place the ramekin on a saucer (or milk saver) in the saucepan then carefully pour in boiling water to come no more than three-quarters of the way up the ramekin. Simmer gently, making sure it does not simmer too fast, and place a plate or saucer over the top of the ramekin to prevent any water getting in.
Simmer for 50 minutes or so, then pre-heat the grill and finish off by placing the ramekin under the hot grill (approximately 4 inches, 10 cm from the heat) to cook the top for 10 minutes.