Almond Crème Caramel

We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take a magnificent trip to France several years ago before our daughter Ami was born.  We spent a week in Paris and another week in the countryside of the Dordogne region.  Both settings were so amazing, but I have to say, there will always be a special place in my heart for the Dordogne region.  The food was out of this world and the countryside was picturesque to say the least.  We stayed in a quaint little idyllic country inn to relax and recoup from our exciting travels through Paris the prior week.  I’ll never forget waking up every morning and enjoying a wonderful breakfast hand delivered to our room.  The pastries and breads were absolutely divine, but the yogurts, cheese and custards were the most memorable.  In France, they don’t pasteurize their dairy products and you wouldn’t believe what a difference that makes.  It creates the creamiest and most decadent desserts like nothing you’ve ever had.

We paid tribute to the region of Provence this past weekend with our neighbors and had the most perfect French summer meal…do we have the best neighbors or what?!  While our focus wasn’t on the Dordogne Region, it still brought back so many wonderful memories and tastes from our travels.  We feasted on tapenade, caramelized onion spread, homemade French bread, Salade Nicoise and…of course…dessert!  I made an Almond Crème Caramel that was so good it had us speaking French…de ce monde (out of this world)!!  I actually don’t know a lick of French as many of the French locals would be happy to tell you. 🙂  The dessert was very similar to Crème Brulee or even Flan, but the almond infused custard took it WAY over the top.  I’m enjoying some even as I type this post…I just can’t believe how good it is…my waistline seems to love it too.

Vivre la France!

xoxo

shannon

 

Almond Crème Caramel          {Print Recipe}

Yields: 6 servings

Caramel

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

Custard

1 cup sliced almonds

3 cups half-and-half

3 Tbsp light brown sugar

10 large egg yolks

2 large whole eggs

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 Tbsp Orzata almond syrup*, optional (I used Amaretto instead…yum)

Boiling water

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until a deep-amber caramel forms, about 10 minutes (keep a close eye on it as it will burn quickly if you’re not paying attention).  Immediately pour the caramel into six 1-cup ramekins or custard cups and gently swirl to coat the bottoms and slightly up the sides.  Set the ramekins in a small roasting pan.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  In a medium skillet, toast the almonds over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  In a medium saucepan, heat the half-and-half until steaming.  Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted almonds and brown sugar and let steep (sit in pan with no heat) for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the eggs and granulated sugar just until combined.  Re-warm the half-and-half mixture over low heat.  Gradually whisk ½ cup of the hot half-and-half into the eggs.  Whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining half-and-half, then strain the custard into a bowl.  Stir the almond syrup or Amaretto into the custard.

Pour the custard into the ramekins.  Carefully set the roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven and fill the pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover the pan with foil.  Bake the custards for 30-40 minutes, or until they are set but still slightly wobbly in the center.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven and discard the foil.  Let the custards cool in the water bath.  Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold the custards, run a thin-bladed knife around each ramekin.  Cover with a dessert plate and invert tapping gently to loosen the custard.  Scrape any remaining caramel over the custards and serve.

The baked custards can be refrigerated in the ramekins for up to 2 days.

*Orzata is a sweet, almond-flavored syrup that is found at liquor stores or gourmet food stores.

Recipe from Food & Wine, Tim Goodell

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One thought on “Almond Crème Caramel

  1. This makes the boxed cake I made recently look increasingly pathetic!! Wish I had your talent in the baking area….once again, I am going to bed with my mouth watering!!

    Like

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