I decided, after posting the decadent Victoria Sandwich on Tuesday that it would also be nice to have a lighter dessert on The Café this week. Guess what? Delicious magazine, the British culinary magazine that I am featuring this week, came right to the rescue! Along with all of their other fabulous recipes Delicious offered a feature article this month called French food GETS SLIM! Wow, it was so fun to read about how "food writer Harry Eastwood took on the challenge of making French classics lighter, without sacrificing any flavour".
I love this type of custard dessert as it's baked in a dish coated with caramelized sugar thus forming a deep delicious amber sauce when the finished product is unmolded. Créme Caramel has multiple names depending on which part of the world you are visiting; flan (Mexico and Spain), quesillo (Brazil), tocino del cielo (Philippines), bánh flan (Vietnam) and purin (Japan), to name a few. It seems to be a beloved dessert in many countries around the globe!.
Creme Caramel is usually a quite rich dessert using either heavy cream (or at least half and half) and lots of eggs and extra egg yolks. The Delicious recipe calls for semi-skimmed milk, the equivalent of two percent, and no extra yolks. A bit of corn starch helps to thicken the custard. You would honestly never know this is a skinny version as the result is, well, just plain delicious, to coin their own term! Served with some seasonal fresh fruit it makes a lovely lower fat dessert; the only problem is that we both ate
slightly more than one two! But just remember, we are the taste testers, and we do this primarily for you! :)
Créme (skinny!) Caramel
3 1/3 cups 2 percent milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 medium eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the caramel by heating the 1/2 cup sugar in a small pan over a low heat. Once the sugar has melted it will brown quickly so keep your eye on it. You're looking for a color between light and dark brown wood.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and pour a puddle of melted sugar into the bottom of each of six individual ramekins. You will need to act quickly, as the sugar will rapidly solidify again. If it goes hard before you've poured it in to all the ramekins, add a tiny splash of boiling water and mix until it's liquid again. Don't put the sugar back over the heat or it will burn. Put a kettle of water on stovetop to boil. (This you will use later for your water bath while custards are baking.)
3. To make the créme, heat the milk and vanilla in a pan until hot but not boiling. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of the hot milk, stirring until the cornstarch has dissolved and you have a white paste. Pour this mixture back into the milk and bring to a boil, stirring all the time.
4. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil and starts to creep up the sides of the pan, take it off of the heat. The mixture will have thickened slightly.
5. In another bowl, mix the eggs and sugar with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot milk mixture, stirring continually, to make a custard. Strain the custard through a fine sieve, then divide among the 6 ramekins.
6. Put the filled ramekins in a baking dish and pour the boiling water into the baking dish around the the ramekins (this is called a bain-marie). Carefully put the pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the créme caramels are set and a bit wobbly. Once cooked, remove the ramekins from the water bath and allow them to cool for an hour.
7. To serve, run a thin-bladed knife carefully around the edge of each ramekin and tip it upside down on to a small plate. Don't worry if you have to give it a firm shake downwards, it won't damage the end result. Serve plain or with fresh fruit or a dollop of whipped cream. ENJOY!
Adapted from Delicious Magazine