A treat, because we're worth it – Crème caramel with pears, vanilla and orange blossom water
Une gourmandise, car nous le valons bien – Crème caramel aux poires, vanille et eau de fleur d’oranger
That goes not only for hair products, but for food too!
Crème caramel or flan aux oeufs, or crème renversée, they’re all the same things. I think the English translation would be custard, but I am not going to use it, because it sounds weird to me, not a name for a dessert but more so for a gardening tool.
Please don’t think that I am pretentious, but it is true that I have never failed making a caramel. I did fail in many other cooking experiments, but caramel was not the one, it always worked fine for me…until last year in France. I wanted to make a crème caramel for a friend’s party, and it turned out a complete disaster. I used all my mom’s sugar, tried four times in a row, and that darn sugar would crystallize. I had to run to the supermarket, bought tons of the top sugar, (I was convinced there was something wrong with her sugar), came back, tried again twice and it did not work either, so I was convinced there was something wrong with her pans. Obviously there was something wrong with me and still cannot figure out what. I was just so irritated that I threw everything away the egg mixture, milk, everything went in the sink. That was unbelievable that after six tries, it would not work.
The first time I made caramel after that disaster was today. Now I get the caramel phobia, and thinking, OK it will crystallize again, so I was ready for it. I was staring at the sugar in the pan, waiting to see formation of crystals. The sugar started to melt and colored beautifully, I could not believe it. I have absolutely no idea why when in France I just could not manage to make a caramel. That is a mystery, since I proceeded exactly the same way as I usually do. Everyone gave me all kinds of explanations and reasons…but since I did exactly the same thing, I don’t understand it. My theory is that since cooking is somehow like chemistry, I assume there were some chemical reactions involved which I was not aware of.
This crème caramel has a little twist, the pears and the orange blossom water which gives it a very nice kick. It’s a very easy dessert to make (of course if your sugar does not crystallize) and very light sweet touch after a multiple course meal.
As you can see, my crème caramel is overcooked because of the holes around it. If the water boils, it will create those holes. It does not affect the taste of the crème though, but it gives it some weird-looking aspect. To avoid this, you might want to check and make sure the water is not boiling and decrease the temperature accordingly.
Ingredients for 4-6 individual crèmes caramel (depending on the size of your ramequins)
For the crème caramel
- 1 pint (or about 500 ml) milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 yolks
- 1.41 oz (or 40 g) sugar
- 1 large pear, peeled and sliced
- 1 vanilla bean cut lengthwise
- 1 1/2 tsp. Orange blossom water
For the caramel
- 200 g sugar
- 1 tbs water
For the caramel, place sugar in a pan with 1 tbs of water and let it melt slowly without stirring. When it has reached a nice dark golden color, distribute caramel evenly in ramequins. Place pear slices in caramel and set aside.
Place milk, in a pot, grate beans from vanilla beans and add to the milk, add sugar and heat for about 2-3 minutes until the sugar has melted. Do not let milk boil, it just needs to be lukewarm.
In a container, mix eggs thoroughly and add milk, keep stirring until the mixture gets homogenous and smooth. Add orange blossom water.
Fill the ramequin with milk/egg mixture. Place ramequins in a large tray filled with water and cook in a pre-heated oven at 370-375F for about 50 minutes. Let it cool and place in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours.
Serve upside down. You might have to use a knife to enable the crème caramel to detach itself from the sides of the ramequins.
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