Over the years I've experimented with what should be the best creme caramel, using double cream, creme fraiche and half and half of these in the mixture.
Now I prefer to use just single cream, which gives the whole thing a sort of wobbly lightness. So this, I now think, is the ultimate.
The Delia Online Cookery School: You can watch how to make caramel for this recipe in our video, just click the image to play.
This recipe is adapted from Delia's Complete Cookery Course Serves 4-6
First make the caramel.
Put golden caster sugar in the saucepan and place it over a medium heat and leave it just like that. Keep an eye on it until the sugar begins to melt and turn into liquid all around the edges. This will take 4 to 6 minutes, and you need to just leave it be. Don’t be tempted to stir it.
When it starts to melt all around the edges, give the pan a good shake, leave it on the heat until about a quarter of the sugar has melted. Now using a wooden spoon stir it gently, until the sugar crystals have all transformed into liquid, and you can see there’s none left on the back of the spoon. Continue to cook, stirring now and then, until the melted sugar turns to the colour of dark runny honey. The whole thing should take from 10 -15 minutes.
Now take the pan off the heat, and add two tablespoons of warm tap water. Stand back as it may splutter a bit at this stage. Then put the pan on a gentle heat, and stir to melt any lumps that may form. Now quickly pour it into the base of the soufflé dish, tipping it around to coat the sides a little. Now pour the milk and cream into another pan and leave it to heat gently while you whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Then, when the milk is steaming hot, pour it onto the egg and sugar mixture, whisking until thoroughly blended. Then pour the liquid through a sieve into the caramel lined dish and place it in the roasting tin. Transfer the tin carefully to the oven, then pour cold water into it to surround the dish up to two-thirds in depth. Bake for 1 hour until the custard is set in the centre, which means it should feel firm and springy to the touch. Then remove it from the roasting tin and, when it's completely cold, cover with clingfilm and chill thoroughly for several hours in the fridge
Remove the crème caramel from the fridge 1 hour before you’re ready to serve it. Then loosen it around the sides with a palette knife, put quite a deep serving plate on top and then turn it upside down and give it a hefty shake. What you will then have is a delicious, light, set caramel custard surrounded by a pool of dark golden caramel sauce.
Serve it cut in slices with some pouring cream to mingle with the caramel
Using a fan-assisted oven? Click here
You will also need an 850ml soufflé dish, a deep roasting tin and a Delia Online Little Gem 'Sauce' Pan measuring 16cm by 8cm or similar