About Me

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My name is Lucy and I have never blogged before. Well that's a lie. I have, but it was this one, and I neglected it for a little while... I live in a commuter town outside London having moved here about a year and a half ago after making some pretty big changes in my life. I share a beautiful little cottage on the Grand Union Canal with 1 crazy beautiful little girl and an equally crazy cat called Bandit (appropriately named as he now lives in all the houses on the street and steals...). Lawyer/working mum and it would appear, terminally single (I've reserved my spinster plaque already) I was fortunate to escape the evil commute about a year ago but seem to have less time than ever.... If I entertain you, make you laugh or fume (or make you have an emotion of ANY description) then my job is done. Enjoy x

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

daddy, daddy cool...

On Friday my father received some rather fantastic news and the family had a little celebration on Sunday night.  So, I thought, I'll use this as an opportunity to try another recipe (I have to say that as someone who tries to eat healthy and not have sweets, cookies or cakes in the house, this blog is proving rather tricky so I'm trying to find reasons to bake and then remove the results from the house!  I know, I know, digressing).  I sent my father a text to ask him what his favourite recipe was, it went like this:

So, I set about making butterscotch flavoured Angel Delight for my pa, not...

Like the text says, this is one of my fave desserts (not desert, I don't have a fave desert, that'd be weird) and I have actually attempted it once before.  I should note this isn't to be confused with Creme Brulee which I haven't been able to eat since a certain "incident".  Anyway, last time I made it the caramel didn't go quite to plan (burnt sugar is not tasty) and the custard tasted distinctly eggy.  The recipe was from one of my mum's '80s cook books that contained other delights such as "prawn cocktail in a marie rose sauce", "vol au vents" and "cheese and pineapple on sticks stuck into an orange" (I secretly love all of these things).  I'm not sure if the recipe was the reason my creme caramel was not a success but in my mind I am a rival to Michel Roux Jr. so it must have been the recipe and not me (reality and I have been strangers for some time now).

Anyway, this time I went with the British answer to Martha Stewart (but, as far as I'm aware, a little less involved in criminal activities but more involved with Canaries), Delia Smith.  The recipe and method is set out below pretty much verbatim, however, I have added extra "clarifications".

The recipe - Creme Caramel (with thanks to Delia)

For the caramel:
6oz (175g) white caster sugar
2 tablespoons tap-hot water

For the custard:
5fl oz (150ml) whole milk
10fl oz (275ml) single cream
4 large fresh eggs (fresh fresh FRESH, it makes the custard less eggy)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C (gas mark 2 or 300F)

2. Begin by making the caramel.  To do this, put the sugar in a saucepan and place it over a medium heat. Leave it like that, keeping an eye on it, until the sugar begins to melt and just turn liquid around the edges, which will take 4-6 minutes.  Now give the pan a good shake and leave it again to melt until about a quarter of the sugar has melted. 

3. Using a wooden spoon, give it a gentle stir and continue to cook and stir until the sugar has transformed from crystals to liquid and is the colour of dark runny honey – the whole thing should take 10-15 minutes. Then take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of water, being a bit cautious here, as it sometimes splutters at this stage (it did, step back, wear gloves, go for the full lab wear if you feel the need).

Mmmm caramel.  Must. Not. Touch....resist....

As an aside, if you have a small toddler I would seriously not recommend attempting to make the caramel unless she is in another room being occupied by another adult or out of the house (although that isn't me saying that you should put the toddler out the back door, close it and let her run riot unsupervised in the garden either). Whatever, I had enough issues resisting the urge to lick the caramel off the spoon, I didn't need the added fear of my toddler with 1st degree burns (and with her mother's track record, the odds were STACKED against us).

Gu Gu
4. Now you may need to return the pan to a low heat to re-melt the caramel, stirring until any lumps have dissolved again.  Then quickly pour two thirds of the caramel into a soufflé dish (or in my case spoon 2/3 tablespoons of the caramel into 7 little glass dishes*), tipping it round the base and sides to coat.

*We have probably over 20 of these little glass dishes.  Hubby has a sweet tooth and seems to have taken it upon himself to support the Gu brand...I don't mind though as they're great for cooking!

5.  Now make the custard.  To do this, pour the milk and cream into the saucepan containing the rest of the caramel, then place this over a gentle heat and this time use a whisk to thoroughly combine everything. Don't panic if you get a great clag of caramel clinging to your whisk or there's some stuck around the edges of the pan – remember that the saucepan is over the heat and the heat will melt it.  Eventually is the word, so be patient (Delia?  How do you know me so well??). When it's all melted, remove the pan from the heat.

6. Next, break the eggs into a large bowl or jug and whisk them, then pour the hot milk that's now blended with the remaining caramel into this mixture, whisking it in as you pour (make sure the milk isn't too hot or it will scramble the eggs!). Next, add the vanilla extract and, after that, pour the whole lot through a sieve into the caramel-lined dishes (I didn't, the world didn't end). If you have any caramel left on the base of the pan, to clean it fill the pan with hot water and a drop of washing-up liquid and place it over the heat again – then it will wash off easily.

7. Now place the creme caramels in a deep roasting tin and pour in enough hot water to come two thirds of the way up the dishes. Place the whole thing on the centre shelf of the pre-heated oven and leave it there for 1¼ hours (or between 50mins to 1 hour for the individual creme caramels), until the custard is set in the centre, which means it should feel firm and springy to the touch.

...the creme caramel settled in to enjoy the mood lighting of the oven...
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 (I put them in the fridge overnight) before turning out.

I served the creme caramels in their dishes and let my family decide if they wanted to turn them out onto their plates.  I did, it took a little coaxing but sliding a knife around the edge and prising it back just a little to let some air in and out they popped.  It was, I have to say, very good.  The caramel was all melted and infused into the custard; the custard wasn't eggy.  It was just yummy.  My mother, who isn't a big eater, ate two.  Sums it up rather well I think! 

Michel Roux?  Michel who?

Right, my small person has asked for baby corn muffins so hi-ho-hi-ho-its off to bake I go...


  1. tee hee :-D what was the "incident"??? Did you get "brûléed"? :-D

  2. No. Ouch! I had had a prett nasty stomach bug, thought I was over it do decided to treat myself. I wasn't. The reaction was something close to the pie eating contest in "Stand By Me". I've never been able to disassociate it!