Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sea-Salted Dark Caramel Custard



Although not what you might think of first when thinking of a spring or summer dessert, if you love salted caramel, this dessert is will not disappoint.  The main reason I was attracted to the recipe was it's ability to be made in advance.  We had a dinner party for the family last weekend and, when I entertain, I love having at least one or two things that I can make the day before.


Not to mention the fact that several members of my family LOVE salted caramel desserts - any time of year! 


Please be very careful if you make this dessert - hot caramel can burn, and you do not want a caramel burn just as sleeveless weather is arriving - no matter how delicious.  Long oven mitts are a good idea - especially if it's your first attempt at making caramel. Proceed with caution and beware of very delicious calories :-)


If you don't see me blogging quite as often these days it is because there the lure of the garden and numerous garden chores that need my attention this time of year.  Soil to amend, seeds, veggies, annuals and containers to plant, not to mention an occasional golf round with my hubby here and there.

Sea-Salted Dark Caramel Custards

Adapted from Bon Appetit
Printable Recipe

Serves 8-10 depending on the size of your ramekin dishes (6 oz minimum)

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I used 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Bean Paste)
¾ cup plus 4 Tbsp. sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Fresh Berries for Garnish
Sea Salt for Garnish

Note: Have a glass of water and pastry brush next to the stove.

Preheat oven to 300° - Gas Mark 2

Place cream in a medium saucepan. Add vanilla bean seed and pod (or vanilla bean paste). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 Tablespoons of water to a boil in a large, 2 quart or larger saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Boil, swirling (not stirring) pan occasionally, brushing down sides of pan with the wet pastry brush, until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 5-8 minutes. Remove caramel from heat.

Remove vanilla pod from cream and slowly add cream to caramel (it will bubble vigorously - so be careful), stirring constantly, until smooth. If you end up with a lump of caramel, simply place the pan back on the heat and stir constantly until dissolved.

Whisk egg yolks, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large, heat-proof bowl. Slowly stream in the caramel, whisking constantly.

Divide custard among ramekins and place in a roasting pan or large baking dish lined with a kitchen towel. Fill the pan with enough water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Carefully move to the oven and bake until custard is just set but still jiggly in the center, 60–70 minutes. Remove ramekins from the baking dish; place on a wire rack and cool. Chill, uncovered, at least 3 hours.

Custards can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover cooled ramekins with plastic wrap and keep chilled. If your custards develop moisture on top when made ahead, simply remove the plastic wrap and allow to sit on the counter for an hour before serving.

Serve with fresh berries and a sprinkle of sea salt.

81 comments:

  1. These are so pretty. When entertaining I love to have a couple of things that can be made in advance too.
    Sam

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    1. Thanks, Sam! I so agree :) I just don't have the energy to make everything the same day!

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  2. I can just taste them:-)
    Susan is that Bluebird?
    So she flew to your home and left ours...
    We went to Vermont..a few days ago and near the border still in QC..I saw a sign..and said:"35 varieties of clematis!!!"..
    He kept right on driving:-)
    On the way home I exclaimed it..same scenario,in my next life I will say what I want to do as guessing what I am hinting at is not his forte:-)
    I say that in a convivial way♥
    I love in advance too..and Spring.

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    1. It is :) She has taken so long to take off here - probably because of the part shade area she is planted in. And yes, a real Blue Bird in the photo too! First ever sighting here. I'm sure they were migrating. Hopefully, next time you can prepare him in advance :)

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  3. PS love that first shot and that dear little blue bird..different than clematis Blue Bird...

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  4. Just beautiful Susan !
    Look georgeous!

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  5. OMG -- I must have this dessert tonight! What a fab recipe, thanks so much for sharing.

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  6. Yum!!!!
    Have fun digging in the dirt.:)
    Enjoy your evening.

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    1. Need to get our my heavy-duty nail brush :) Thanks, Glenda!

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  7. Oh yum - anything with caramel and sea salt gets my vote of approval.

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  8. Oh that sounds so good. I adore caramel. Understood about being away from blogging...the garden beckons, of course! Those irises are beautiful. I have never seen any like them.

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  9. Thank you, Vee! The irises are both miniature dwarf bearded types. The yellow and blue is called Serenity Prayer and the dark reddish purple one is called Candy Apple.

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  10. Against my better judgment, I've read your recipe!! Now that I have, I think I'll put it in my "toss the diet to the wind" file!! Your garden is lovely.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. It is worth the diet tossing - at least for a special occasion - like a weekend :) Thank you, Bonnie!

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  11. Wow, that looks really good! My Siberian iris just bloomed. The BB ones the Snarling Bakers all have, not so much! I am still amazed at the damage from winter this year. I am really wondering if there will be hydrangeas after last year's bumper crop! None of them look very good!
    Happy Gardening!

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    1. I think I lost a couple of hydrangeas too. Thankfully, Limelight survived. Thank you, Kathleen!

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  12. Hi Susan, these look wonderful, Funny thing, I just picked up some salted caramel gelato today too. Your pictures are just stunning!

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  13. Susan, I figured you'd be busy tending your beautiful garden. But I'm happy to see a new and mouth-watering post. These rich little custards are calling my name; the third photograph is practically screaming: 'Make me–you know you want to!' And I do.

    Btw, if you find any typos, blame it on big kitty, Mason. Enjoy the weekend!

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    1. I'd happily enjoy typos with a big kitty - sadly hubby is allergic. Thank you, Sol!

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  14. Lovely and elegant way to finish dinner with your friends! And yes, it does meter that you can prepare it in advance...even gets better.

    ela @ GrayApron

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    1. Thank you, Ela! It is always a bonus feature ;)

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  15. Susan, this is a great one to end a meal. Love how good they have turned out. Beautiful!

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  16. Yum! I am a complete pudding fanatic, Susan. Such comfort food. What a super idea for a pudding....several steps up from mother's old butterscotch! Can't wait to try it.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara! My mother made butterscotch pudding too :)

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  17. Oh I love salted caramel anything. This looks amazing. Your garden is beautiful! Enjoy the Springtime and all it's beauty.

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    1. Thanks, Julie! It's another beautiful day for working outside :)

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  18. You have outdone yourself again, this caramel custard looks smooth as silk :D
    Perfect for spring!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  19. These look decadently delicious. Love do ahead dishes and it is unique as well. Thanks Susan.

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    1. Do-ahead and delicious does it for me :) Thanks, Penny!

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  20. These are lovely we love salted caramel too. Best thing is that they can be made in advance, the big problem though that they will not make it through the night :).

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  21. Your custards look like they are rich and decadently delicious. From the beautiful photos, I can see why you would rather be outside than indoors blogging. I hope you have a wonderful gardening season…enjoy.

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    1. It was a long, wonderful day in the garden today ;) Thank you, Karen!

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  22. This kind of dessert is so perfect for right now. I recently made a lemon panna cotta with a similar texture, but the rich caramel of this custard is calling my name! I bet it would make a great ice cream, too.

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    1. Lemon is another one of my favorite desserts! I'll have to see if I can find your recipe, Sue. Thanks :)

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    2. I'm not much of one for sweets, but this tempts me.

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  23. can't wait to try Susan, looks delicious ! have a great week, a hug...

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    1. I hope you do try it - very delicious. Thank you, Chiara!

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  24. Wow these look amazing!I like to dip my spoon into one right now and take a bite. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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  25. I love the "in advance" thing and am a huge fan of caramel. Pinned. Since we had snow two weekends ago, my Iris are a little slow in blooming.

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    1. Strange weather! We went from winter to summer, it seems.

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  26. I love caramel and the fact that can be made ahead of time makes it ideal for friendly gatherings! You don't have to think about the dessert in all preparation craziness!

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  27. Look at this yumminess. I want to reach through the screen and grab one.

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  28. I seriously just gasped when I saw the photo of the inside. I think this is amazingly beautiful and I know I would love it. Absolutely perfect dessert - made ahead and easy to eat - yum! Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

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  29. Caramel is one of my favorites.
    Yours looks amazing and with a melt in your mouth texture, a must try for this summer.

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    1. Thank you, Daniela! So glad you were found a way to comment again :)

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  30. I am salted caramel addict!! Must have these!

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  31. Oh My these are amazing! Who doesn't love a pudding for dessert, and salted caramel is divine!
    I am with you, if I can make something the day before my dinner party, I will. Thanks for a great recipe. Enjoy the Spring and your plantings and I will too! xxoo Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thank you, Ladies! Now it's a battle with the weeds :)

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  32. Delicious looking custard, Susan! This is great anytime of the year!
    And beautiful garden flowers! Once you are into gardening, it is difficult to stop!
    Happy Gardening!

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  33. Susan, I am a sucker for custard and cream desserts. Your garden is looking lovely!

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  34. Wow, your custard looks delicious..I can understand the pull of the garden these day.. The flowers are lovely and I enjoy listening to the birds. Happy June and have a great week!

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  35. Your custard looks great Susan! :) I have never tried making caramel custard after seeing your recipe I think I will be trying it. Playing catch up on post, been gone a for a few weeks!

    Check out my recent post, Meatball Sliders!

    Michael
    http://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/meatball-sliders/

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    1. Thank you, Michael! I'll be right over to check it out :)

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  36. My Chicago family will be here in two weeks and I was wondering what to make for dessert when they arrive. I know we all will love these custards. I don't think I can wait two week to try this. I may have to try out the recipe this weekend. Your photos are beautiful, Susan.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

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  37. I love custard...creamy and rich...yours look beautiful Susan, I wish I could enjoy a spoonful of this treat.
    Hope you are having a great week Susan :D

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  38. This would make a wonderful dessert! I love the photography and the recipe sounds fantastic too :).

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  39. Oh wow this sounds amazing and looks so inviting. Great recipe, I missed this one in Bon Appetit'.

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    1. Thank you, Vicki! Not without its calories but SO delicious.

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