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Burnt Caramel

May 5, 2010

Burnt Caramel pot de creme with strawberries and lavender meringue cookies

I’m sometimes slow at catching on to things. For instance, I was one of the last people I know to buy a cell phone. I also waited to see the film Forrest Gump. Until two years after it was released. So when Burnt Caramel was all the rage a few years back, I slept through that food trend. Completely. I think I might have been busy making candied fennel ice cream or something..and trying to make a call on my bulky Nokia phone.

Burnt Caramel is a happy phenomenon that happens accidentally. Or at least I’d like to think it does. I’m sure you can devise a plan to burn caramel as you would plan an organized grass burn in spring time Nova Scotia. Both yield results. One tastes better. I hadn’t planned on making Burnt Caramel, but I did plan on making Caramel pot de creme and then I took a phone call 7 minutes in, when the sugar was still clear. A few minutes later I began to smell that delightful almost burnt sugar smell wafting out the kitchen, so I approached the stove with caution. The procedure was quickly extinguished with a mixture of heavy cream and milk. Alas, I have made burnt caramel pot de creme.

Exposed Burnt Caramel pot de creme / lavender, strawberry, balsamic

Caramel Pot de Creme (burn it if you like)

1 1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. water

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. milk

6 egg yolks (lightly whisked)

Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan. (I added about a drop of lemon juice to this)

Cook water and sugar on medium heat. You don’t need to stir it, just leave it be. You can brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush if sugar begins to crystallize on edges. (I used lemon juice to prevent this from happening)

You are looking for a nice- dark amber color of sugar. When you remove the pan from heat, the sugar will continue to cook. You can stop this by setting the bottom of the pan into a bowl of ice water and then adding the heavy cream and milk.

If you want to- burn your caramel, let the color go darker, but once it’s oil slick black it is at the point of no return. Probably won’t taste as good.

Burnt good is very dark brown, almost black but not quite and you can smell it. Smells something like burnt caramel. But remember the sugar keeps cooking and it cooks quick. Amber to dark brown to black can happen quickly so be ready and try to not be on the phone.

I ran out of heavy cream so I used half and half to make up for the rest, combined with milk. When you add the milk/cream to the caramel, stand back and beware of splattering sugar. Many recipes recommend using an oven mit to protect your hands and forearm and also having a bowl of ice on standby (if it does happen to get on your skin). ***Sugar burns are intensely painful and scarring. Just sayin.

Once you’ve add the milk to the caramel keep stirring and try to get any lumps of sugar off the bottom of the pot. I let the mixture simmer for a few minutes to let the sugar and cream mixture fully incorporate.

Temper the caramel cream into 6 yolks slowly. And continue whisking as you add more cream to the yolks, being careful not to cook the eggs. When the mixture is fully combined pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or container you can ladle or pour from.

Fill -ramekins, coffee cups, tea cups, or glass jars/ cups about half way full.

Cover containers with foil and bake in a water bath for 1 hour at 300-325 degrees (Depends on your oven). The cooking time may go over an hour slightly too.

Custards are set when you move the cups slightly and there is a firm jiggle (As opposed to a loose jiggle).

Refrigerate over night or for at least 6-8 hours before serving.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 5, 2010 10

    Ahhh looks delicious!!!

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