The carrot juice gives this creme caramel an unexpected and complex flavor! So good! The sight of sunset-yellow eggs whisked into heavy cream never fails to make me happy, and classic French créme caramel remains my favorite custard to make.
From Amy: "The sight of sunset-yellow eggs whisked into heavy cream never fails to make me happy, and classic French créme caramel remains my favorite custard to make. It looks so much more complicated than it really is: you line the ramekins with a little caramel, and when upturned, it miraculously turns into a glassy, gooey top and a bold sauce to cut the richness of the cream. I stick with my favorite custard base, but I like to play around with flavorings for the caramel. So one day this early spring I found myself craving sunshine, dry grass, and wildflowers—the prospect of being outside!—and so I started reducing carrot juice with spices and ginger until it tasted like a hippie butterscotch, which fit my mood exactly. This one transports you directly to the height of summer."
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup fresh carrot juice (purchased is fine)
3 slices fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 cups cream
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
- Set up 6 ceramic single-serving ramekins in a large 9 x 13 baking pan. Bring a quart (more or less) of water to boil while you assemble the custards. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, carrot juice, and ginger and bring it to a simmer. Boil until the syrup bubbles thickly and the foam cannot be tamed by stirring, or it reaches 210ºF, about 10 minutes. (Take your time reaching the right level of caramelization: when it looks thick, remove it from the heat and let the bubbles subside. The syrup should be sticky and rust-colored.)
- Add the cinnamon, and divide the hot caramel among the 6 ramekins, and rotate them so that the caramel covers the bottoms completely.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks, granulated sugar and maple syrup until smooth, and then whisk in the cream, milk, and carrot juice. Add the salt and pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve.
- Divide the custard mixture among the 6 ramekins, and pour hot water into the surrounding pan, enough to reach 1/2 inch up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake the custards until nearly set--the center will still jiggle slightly when nudged--about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan, then transfer to a refrigerator to chill. When cold, run a slim knife around the perimeter of the custard and turn upside down onto a small plate. The syrup will pool around the custard.
I love Amy's book "The New Midwestern Table"!
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