This classic dessert is known by so many names and made across the globe. One of my favourites and one that I only recently started making, it's known as Creme Caramel, Flan, Egg Pudding or Caramel Custard. It's luscious, creamy, sweet, and has a strong delightful caramel flavor. I was so intimidated by this dessert and only ate it when my mom made it for us growing up. But I tried my mom's really easy recipe (from her friend) and can report that I've mastered it. This French Creme Caramel recipe will definitely make you feel like a pro in the kitchen. Best part? Most of it comes together in minutes using a blender. It's a must try!
How to make this French Creme Caramel recipe
Before making this, the term "water bath" used to always scare me. It just seemed like a complicated step in a recipe, and made me not even attempt it! Turns out its just some boiling water inside of a pan. Not too bad, right? Let me walk you through the steps...
- You start by making the caramel first by adding the sugar to a pot. Try to do this without letting the sugar touch the edges. Then pour the water slowly on top, and leave it! Don't try to stir it or move the pot around. If you do, the sugar will crystallize and turn solid.
- Turn the heat on to medium high and allow the sugar to melt and start bubbling. It will bubble for close to 7-10 minutes. You need to stay close by and keep monitoring until you see it start to change colour to orang-y or amber. That means caramalization has started and you can now move it around by swirling the pot
- Once it looks dark orange, which will only take a minute, remove it and continue to swirl it around to get an even colour. Then pour it into your cake pan and quickly swirl the pan so it covers the whole base. The caramel will quickly heat the pan so careful with your fingers!
- Next make the custard by adding the milk, eggs and condensed milk to a blender and blend for a bout 30 seconds.
- Pour the custard in the pan on top of the caramel
- Place the pan in a large baking dish and add boiling water halfway up the pan edge. That's your water bath ready.
- Bake it in the oven at 325 F for around 45 - 50 minutes.
- Allow it come to room temperature then store in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, run a knife along the pan ensuring you press against the pan so you don't cut into the custard (I totally did that). Place a plate with an edge on top of the pan, breathe in, and flip.
How to bake Creme Caramel to perfection
The trickiest part about making this french creme caramel recipe is knowing when to take it out of the oven. Over baking creme caramel will leave it tasting like eggs with a weird texture and with holes starting to form around its edges. A perfectly baked creme caramel will have smooth edges with no holes and taste perfect. This is how you know it's ready:
- Don't rely on the baking time of 45-50 minutes. After about 38 to 40 minutes of baking, you need to test it.
- Do this by shaking the pan. If it ripples like liquid or water, it's not ready yet. It needs to jiggle like set jelly.
- You can also insert a knife in the middle - if it comes out with clumps attached, it's not ready. It needs to come out semi-clean with some streaks.
- At this point, remove it from the oven and allow it to come to room temperature in the water bath. The residual heat will continue the cooking process.
Serving size from this Creme Caramel recipe
This recipe will make enough for a 9" 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.
The 9" pan will make roughly 10 small slices. It's best to serve small slices of creme caramel because it is decadent and sweet! Although I can't lie, I definitely had more than 1 slice...
Oh and also, it's best to eat it the next day. It will keep for about 2 days in the fridge, and then the texture will get really dense and won't be as pleasant.
I can't wait for you to try this out! That flip of the pan and the release that brings with it a perfect creme caramel is just pure bliss. You need to make it.
For more dessert recipes, check out:
French Creme Caramel Recipe
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 heat and stand by until it caramalizes by seeing some change in color. This should take about 10 minutes. You can then swirl the pan and wait until it turns a dark orange
- Remove from the heat and pour it into your cake pan ensuring you cover the whole base by moving the pan around (carefully as the pan will get hot)
- 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)
- 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 38 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).
- Take it out and allow it to cool at room temperature inside the water bath.
- 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
- 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.