Laura Calder’s Salted Caramel
This is another gem from Laura Calder whom I have written about before. Her latest book, Paris Express is full of easy to make gorgeous foods and is a must have book in any cook’s library. I would love to take a class from her one of these days if she offers any.
Lately I have enjoyed getting reacquainted with some of my cookbooks. I am rebuilding a cookbook library that counted more than a thousand books before I lost it to fire. I won’t have another thousand cookbooks library again but I am acquiring a good collection of authors on various subjects and styles of cooking. It has been fun cooking my way through some of these books and getting to know them again. At the moment Laura Calder and Yotam Ottolenghi are the two at the top of my book pile as you can see from recent posts.
I served this salted caramel at a recent lunch to rave reviews. The recipe makes six small servings that were just right for my all-gals luncheon. It is rich and perfectly satisfying in small portions. To make it you need to be comfortable with making caramel because you need to take the caramel to dark amber to have that wonderful full flavour caramel taste. I melt the sugar in a pot covered with a glass lid. This way I can see inside the pot and the moisture stays in the pan and no crystallization forms. Once the caramel is nice and golden I remove the lid and finish watching it uncovered until it just turns beautiful deep amber. At that moment I add the cream and milk (careful, it thickens, rises and spatters) and turn the heat to very low to melt it again.
The recipe calls for 6 egg yolks and you incorporate the hot caramel mixture into the eggs. In order to not scramble the eggs from the heat I add it to the whisked eggs little by little with a small ladle, mixing it gently so as not to froth up the eggs too much. And that is it, recipe complete and only slow cooking in a water bath stand between you and a fabulous dessert. I cook it at 325℉ for 35-40 minutes in my oven (Laura says 30 minutes but this may depends on your oven temperature). The caramel should have a slight “wobble” (Laura’s term) in the center when it is ready. It will firm up as it cools. Do not over cook it, I forgot it in the oven once (don’t tell) and got a nice scramble instead of a smooth caramel). This is the fourth time I am making this recipe. I haven’t posted until now because it disappeared every time before I had a chance to photograph it.
For salt use fleur de sel or maldon salt, these are beautiful hand gathered salts and have crunchy large but delicate crystals. I sprinkle a little salt on the caramel and put extra salt in a small dish and let the guests spoon extra salt onto the caramel themselves.
Try it, you won’t regret it. Let me know how it went.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups cream
1/2 cup milk
6 egg yolks
4 cups boiling water
Fleur de sel or maldon salt
Combine sugar and water in a 4 cup pot and swirl to wet the sugar. Cover with a glass lid.
Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar turns into dark amber carmel. Watch it carefully especially towards the end as it can turn from caramel to burnt in a split of a second.
As soon as the right colour is reached (err on under rather than over) pour in the cream and milk very carefully as the mixture will rise and splatter.
Keep on very low heat for a couple of minutes, to allow the caramel to melt again, then remove from the heat.
While sugar is cooking break the eggs into an 8 cup bowl and whisk gently to combine.
When the caramel is ready begin pouring it into the egg yolks whisking gently. I pour it in a little at a time with a small ladle, to prevent the eggs from heating up to quickly.
Place 6 small glass dishes in a baking pan with 2″ sides. Place the glasses in the pan.
When the caramel is mixed into the eggs pour it into the six glass dishes equally and place the pan in the oven.
Pour hot water into the pan up about half way up the glasses.
Bake at 325℉ for about 30-40 minutes or until the center has just a slight wobble. It will firm up as it cools.
Let cool on the counter, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve sprinkle a little fleur de sel or maldon salt on each caramel and serve with additional salt on the side.