Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel is one of the very popular desserts that you might make for a family night treat in France. Some people liken it to flan, but I take issue with comparing it to flan because most people hate flan. Creme Caramel is awesome. In order to educate myself of the differences between the two, I did a little googling and found out that flan typically is made with lots of sugar (a cup in most recipes), condensed milk, evaporated milk and/or heavy cream, vanilla extract and eggs. Creme Caramel has much less sugar, real whole milk, a vanilla bean or vanilla sugar and eggs. So eggs are the common denominator. They really are different, though. So even if you hate flan, you must give creme caramel a chance.

Creme Caramel: (Printable recipe here)


For the caramel:
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp water

For the creme:
2 cups whole milk
1 pinch of salt
4 Tbsp sugar
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla sugar
4 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the caramel, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high heat. Resist the urge to stir right away. Once the sugar starts to become golden, stir in any clumps of sugar that remain. They should melt in the caramel. Once all of the sugar is caramelized, remove from heat and pour into 4 ramekins. (Note, in the picture I thought I might be able to get 6 creme caramels out of my recipe. I was wrong…just go with 4).

2. To make the creme, combine the milk, salt and sugar in a medium pot. Heat until the milk just starts boiling.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs.

4. Once the milk starts to boil, pour a small amount of hot milk into the eggs making sure you never stop whisking. If you do, you run the risk of cooking the eggs and ruining the smooth consistency of your creme. This is probably the hardest part of making creme caramel (and it’s not that hard, promise). Slowly add more and more hot milk, continuing to whisk the whole time.

5. Strain the mixture with a sieve and pour it into the ramekins. Place the ramekins in a bain marie (you can use any sort of cake pan filled partway up with cool water). Bake for 30-40 minutes. You know they are done when the centers just quiver a tiny bit. Allow to cool completely before serving.

5 thoughts on “Creme Caramel

  1. Katrina Grube

    OMG. That is so bad. But SO GOOD. I'm an equal opportunity custard enthusiast, so flan, panna cotta, creme brulee, creme caramel, pudding, tapioca…I LOVE THEM ALL!!

  2. Julie

    🙂 Yes, I'm a big custard fan too. I actually like flan, but I tried to spell out the differences just because most people I've talked to don't. But really, Kat…have you looked at the ingredients in this? It's milk, eggs, vanilla and 4 Tbsp of sugar, plus 3 for the caramel. That's about 1.75 Tbsp per ramekin. I know you're on a complete no sugar diet right now but by most dessert standards this really isn't so bad. At least that is my official opinion 🙂

  3. Shannon

    Looks SO delicious, but I've yet to figure out making caramel (or any kind of candy) at altitude. I know I theoretically can recalibrate the candy thermometer, etc., but I've never been able to get the sugar to caramelize before burning or before all the water evaporates away. Maybe you can just describe the taste to me and I can fantasize 🙂

  4. Julie

    Hmm…I could see having issues with making candy using a candy thermometer, but can you really not make caramel? I don't use a thermometer, I just heat it until it caramelizes. You actually don't have to use any water to make caramel, so the water evaporating shouldn't be an issue. I'm not saying I don't believe you, but your dilemma makes me sad inside. 🙂

  5. Shannon

    Julie, I don't know for sure… I only tried making something like that once or twice (I can't remember what it was now… toffee? Maybe it was sugar and cream?) and it was such a mess that I gave up on it. I made the same exact recipe closer to sea level the next week and it was the easiest thing ever. It made me sad too 😦


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