Friday, October 11, 2013

Salted Burnt Caramel Custards

I was so thankful for the weather last week. The leaves hung on the trees and we had some beautiful warm days. Although I had expected to make a sweeping comeback to this site, I just couldn't resist getting out and hiking with the dogs while it lasted. After spending the summer away, the trails near our home felt new again. Our dogs know the trails so well, we walk in different areas at different times of the year, but they catch on quick and always know where to turn. It's funny because David and I don't walk in the same places, or we will do the same trails in the opposite direction. It was kind of fun for the first few days to just let the dogs lead me, to see what sorts of new places they had been exploring while I was gone. We call these kinds of walks "dog's choice".  Everything has changed today it has alternated between snow and rain all day. The dogs had been begging to go for their walk, so we geared up while it was snowing, but just as we headed out the door it had turned back to rain, sideways rain. Ok boys, let's go it's dogs choice! They looked at each other and then ran back to the door. I was half tempted (actually, very tempted) to let them back in. We trudged up the hill to the ridge and across to the first trail that would either continue on the ridge, down into the valley, or back to the road (the quickest route home). I didn't have to say anything, "dog's choice" was clear, we headed home fast. I put a fire in the woodstove to keep us all warm. The dogs are now all sprawled out and snoring.  There was nothing productive about our day, but sometimes those are the best days of all.
These custards are from this months Bon Appetit magazine. I usually don't have the best luck with caramel, so I was amazed how easy these were and how great they turned out. I did change up the directions a bit from the original recipe. I get a little nervous working with hot, molten sugar, so I like to have things ready to go. I hope this method will make things easier for you too. This recipe makes 8 six ounce portions, which is quite a lot, make sure you have some friends nearby to share this one with.
Salted Burnt Caramel Custards
adapted from Bon Appetit

4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
flaky sea salt for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 300°. Place cream and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside. Whisk egg yolks, salt, and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl, set aside. Bring remaining sugar and 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, swirling pan occasionally until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 4 minutes; remove caramel from heat. The darker you can get the caramel without burning it the better the end product will be, but use caution as it will go from perfect to terrible in about 3 seconds. Slowly add cream to caramel (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously, be careful not to burn yourself), stirring constantly, until smooth. Add about ¼ cup of caramel to the egg mixture at a time, whisking constantly until all the caramel has been incorporated. Divide custard among ramekins and place in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Fill pan with water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until custard is just set but still jiggly in the center, 60–70 minutes. Remove ramekins from baking dish; place on a wire rack and let cool. Chill puddings, uncovered, at least 3 hours. Serve with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

4 comments:

  1. These look like heaven! Can't wait to try them...

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  2. I would love one of these custards for dessert tonight! SO comforting. Love the touch of salt. The fall has been very nice here too, and I hope it will be a very mild winter.

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  3. Nicole, these sound so delicious! I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to hot sugar too but this recipe is enough to convince me that I need to give it another go. Burnt caramel? Yes please! Love the idea of adding the flaked sea salt to finish also... a very elegant touch. Oh, by the way, I LOVE your wallpaper! So beautiful. I'm new to your blog so I'm excited to read through your archives... gorgeous work xx

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