The wind huffs and puffs at my front door
threatening to barge on through.
But my house is strong and made of bricks,
submit it will not do.
The wind is mighty and ferocious today with a temper that will not be tempered. Like a petulant child in the midst of a tantrum, it cares not who it hurts with its reckless assault, throwing things around with abandon. I dared not brave its wrath and have therefore been bound indoors. But as with all situations, I endeavoured to put it to good use and decided to make some custard.
As a child my mother would purchase store-bought creme caramels that I would tip upside down before flicking a tab to release the golden syrup upon the wobbly dome. I was slightly apprehensive as to whether these would un-mould as easily and be bathed in such a generous ochre -coloured liquid, but I need not have worried, as they worked out wonderfully, and with a far more complex and palatable flavour than those bought in chilled aisles.
Baked custards with salted caramel
175g caster sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
tsp sea salt
2 extra egg yolks
Heat milk in a saucepan with 75 grams of the sugar, the zest and the cinnamon. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes to infuse. To make the caramel, heat remaining sugar, salt and water in a heavy-based pan, stirring gently, until bubbles appear. Stop stirring and continue to cook, watching carefully as the liquid turns the colour of toffee. Remove from heat and carefully pour into four ovenproof moulds, swirling to coat the sides and bottom. Heat oven to 170C. Beat eggs and egg yolks lightly in a bowl. Slowly pour into milk mixture, stirring, then strain into toffee-lined moulds. Place in a baking dish and add hot water halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Remove and cool, then refrigerate, covered, overnight. To serve, dip each mould into a bowl of hot water to melt caramel and run a knife around the edges. Invert onto a serving plate, allowing salted caramel to flow down the sides.
prep time: 35mins.
cooking time: 25mins.
total: 1hour plus at least 4hours to chill.
taste: 4/5. Not your average custard.
The ivory dome submits beneath your spoon as the amber nectar drenches the custard in its salt-spiked sweetness, spicy cinnamon and hint of orange bitterness. The smooth custard is mild and creates the perfect base for the zesty caramel's depth.
would I make it again: No, as alas my husband would not even try one, as cold custard makes him quiver in disgust so I would rather make something we can both enjoy rather than having to eat four pots on my own, despite their deliciousness.