Friday, December 29, 2006

Lavender Creme Caramel

Category: Dessert
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

3 cups whole milk or whipping cream, or a combination of both
2 tbsp dried edible lavender
3/4 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 325F.
Making caramel: In a think bottom pot over medium heat add 1 cup of sugar and 1/8 cup of water. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cook the liquid until it becomes golden brown. [be careful. Caramel is VERY hot.] Remove from heat. Add the remaining 1/8 cup of water to stop the cooking. Pour caramel into a baking dish and swirl around so that it covers the bottom of the dish.
Making custard: Heat the milk until it is just before boiling. Add lavender and let steep 5 minutes. Pass milk through a sift to remove the lavender. Add sugar and vanilla extract to milk and stir until dissolved.
Put eggs in a stainless steel bowl and whisk until broken.
Pour milk into bowl while whisking all the time.
Strain custard into prepared baking pan.
Place baking pan into a deep roasting pan half full with hot water. Bake until set, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Let cool and refrigerate completely, at least 3 hours.
To serve, break edges with a knife, and flip onto a plate. Pour any caramel remaining in the baking pan on the custard.

The viscosity of the custard depends on the proportion of milk and cream you use. If you use a larger proportion of cream, the custard will be thicker, which is more traditional. If you use a larger proportion of milk, the custard will be thinner and be more like Chinese steamed egg. Do experiment with the milk/cream proportion and find out your own perfect style and taste.

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