This creme caramel is luscious, creamy, and has a strong caramel flavor. Although it may seem intimidating to make, this recipe is made in a blender, using just a few ingredients, and a few minutes of hands-on time. The secret to perfect creme caramel that is not eggy or clumpy is all in the baking method. Follow my exact tips and tricks, and you will feel like a pro when you slice into it to reveal a smooth and creamy texture.
Creme Caramel is a dessert that exists across many cultures, and it is known as flan in many Spanish-speaking countries. I am not sure if there are any key differences between a flan and creme caramel, but they both have a caramel top and a creamy custard bottom.
The traditional way of making creme caramel requires making the custard over the stove top, using milk, eggs, and sugar. In this recipe however, you don't need to cook the custard, and it all comes together in a blender.
The ingredients are simpler too; rather than using milk and sugar for the custard, we just use condensed milk. I have tested this recipe countless times and it is always perfect; I don't tend to stray from these exact ratios.
The trick however is to bake it perfectly. It's important to not over bake creme caramel to make sure it doesn't taste "Eggy" and it doesn't have a non smooth texture.
Ingredients You Will Need for Creme Caramel
Here is the simple list of ingredients you need:
For the custard:
- Whole Milk
- Condensed Milk
For the Caramel:
For my recipe, you'll also need a large blender. If you only have one of those small blenders, you can blend the custard in batches.
How to make Creme Caramel - Step By Step
The first thing to start on is the caramel, because it takes a bit longer than the custard. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and place it on medium high heat.
In my recipe, I make a larger than usual amount of the caramel because I love having the extra pooling around the custard when flipped over. This means the caramel will take a bit longer to caramelize, but it's worth the wait. It should take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your pan size and stove.
Once the water and sugar start to boil rapidly, stay nearby and keep an eye on it. It will slowly turn into a darker shade of yellow, then an amber shade, then a deep orange. Never mix the caramel, simply allow it to bubble away on its own.
Once you notice the caramel turning a deep orange, start swirling the pan around. This swirling motion helps reduce the bubbles so you can see the colour better. As soon as you observe a deep orange shade, remove it from the stove.
TIP: If you make the caramel too light, it will be too sweet and won't have the caramel flavor. But if you leave it to get too dark, it will taste a bit burnt. It's important to stay nearby and make sure you remove it when it reaches the right shade.
I usually blend the custard when the caramel is bubbling, just so it is ready to go when the caramel is finished.
Do this by combining the milk, condensed milk, and eggs in a blender. Also, preheat your oven to 325F.
Blend the mixture for a few seconds until you noticed that it is combined into one homogenous mixture. Do not blend it for too long. It's fine if you observe bubbles or foam forming at the top. Let the custard stand until the caramel is ready.
Once the caramel is ready, while hot, pour it into your baking dish. If you're using small ramekins, pour a bit of the caramel at the bottom of each ramekin.
When you pour it, it will make the baking dish very hot, so be careful not to touch it with your fingers. It will also harden within a few minutes of touching the pan, which is completely fine.
Next, pour the custard on top of the caramel. Then, create a water bath. Place the creme caramel pan inside a larger baking dish, then pour boiling water inside the larger dish. The water should come up to about halfway up the creme caramel dish.
Gently pick up the large dish and place it in the oven. Bake it for roughly 40 to 50 minutes. There are important baking instructions in the next section that you must review. Its best to not rely on time and instead rely on physical signs that the creme caramel is baked.
How to bake Creme Caramel to perfection
The trickiest part about making creme caramel is knowing when to take it out of the oven without overbaking. A perfectly baked creme caramel will have very small minimal holes around the outside, but no holes in the centre once cut, with a perfectly smooth and creamy texture.
Follow these instructions for baking:
- Don't rely on the baking time of 45-50 minutes. After about 40 minutes of baking, you need to test it.
- Do this by shaking the pan gently. If it ripples like liquid or water, it's not ready yet. It needs to jiggle like set jelly. Close the oven door and check back in again in 5 minute intervals.
- Once you think its there and it jiggles like jelly, you can also insert a knife in the middle to double check. If it comes out with clumps attached, it's not ready. It needs to come out clean with some streaks.
- Once you think it is finished, remove it from the oven and allow it to come to room temperature in the water bath for roughly 1 hour. The residual heat will continue the cooking process.
- Once its cooled, cover the top with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight.
Here are three Signs that your creme caramel is over-baked:
- It will have an eggy taste. Over baking brings out the egg flavour in an unpleasant way.
- It will have a curdled texture that is not smooth or creamy.
- It will have a lot of visible holes all over. It's fine to have some small holes on the top and sides, those are quite hard to avoid, but when you slice into it, the inside should be perfectly creamy with no holes visible at all.
How to Flip and Release Creme Caramel
The next day, when you're ready to serve, start by running a butter knife all around the edges of the pan. Then, turn the water tap on to hot water and run the water on the sides and bottom of the pan for a few seconds. This helps the caramel to release.
Place a platter that's large enough on top of the pan, then swiftly flip it over. Gently tap the bottom of the pan and slowly raise it. If the creme caramel gets stuck, just repeat the process of using the knife to run it around the edges and running water on the bottom.
It should release, and the liquid caramel will pool around the custard. Slice into pieces and serve with a few spoonfuls of caramel on top.
Serving size from this recipe
This recipe will make enough for a 9" round pan. You may have a little bit of the custard leftover if your pan is thin like mine (which I highly recommend - you can find it here). My pan is about 5 cm thick so I had a bit leftover that I used to make 2 small ramekins with it. If your pan is thicker, you'll be able to fit all of the custard in.
I have also baked it in a standard 9"x5" loaf pan, and it fits perfectly.
Both pans will make roughly 10 small slices. It's best to serve small slices of creme caramel because it is decadent and sweet!
The best time to eat it is the next day. However, it will keep for about 2 days in the fridge. After that, the texture will get dense and it won't be as pleasant.
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Creme Caramel Recipe with Condensed Milk
For the caramel:
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
For the Custard:
- 8 eggs
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk 2x 300 ml cans
- 600 ml whole milk fill up the same condensed milk cans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 325 F
- Make the caramel by adding the sugar to a pot without touching the edges, and pour over the water. Do not stir it or move the pot and remain close by to watch it
- Allow it to come to a boil over medium high heat. Once it starts bubbling away, it will slowly change color to yellow, then amber, then a deep orange. Stand nearby and observe the stages, which should take about 20 to 30 minutes. Once it turns a deep orange, swirl the pan around to remove the bubbles and observe the color.
- Remove from the heat and pour it into your cake pan ensuring you cover the whole base by moving the pan around (careful as the pan will get hot). It will solidify within a few seconds of hitting the pan, which is completely normal.
- Next prepare the custard by blending together the eggs, condensed milk and whole milk. If your blender is small do it in 2 batches (half the ingredients for each batch). Blend for just a few seconds until the mixture is homogenous. If there are bubbles or foam that forms on top, that's okay.
- Pour the custard on top of the caramel (which has solidified by now) all the way to the top.
- Place the pan in a larger baking dish and add boiling water half way up the pan's edge.
- Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Check the custard at around 40 minutes by jiggling it slightly. If it ripples like water, it's not ready. You need it to jiggle like set jelly. You can also insert a knife in the middle. It should come out mostly clean with a few streaks (not with little clumps). If it needs more time, leave it in the oven and check back in 5 minute intervals.
- Take it out and allow it to cool at room temperature inside the water bath for at least an hour. It will continue to cook in the residual heat.
- Place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, run a knife along the edge pressing against the edge of the pan to avoid cutting into the custard. You can also run warm water on the sides and bottom of the pan to release it.
- Place a plate with a raised edge on top of the pan and flip!
- It's important to ensure you don't over bake the creme caramel. Read the section of the blog post titled "how to bake creme caramel to perfection" to get all of my tips. Over baked creme caramel will taste eggy.