Damn it! I have been looking for my Crème caramel recipe for ages now until I finally found it yesterday, hidden in one of my multiple note books, in the drawer of my office desk. Twenty years since I have done any, the last time was a little bit of me, my dessert legacy in an Italian restaurant on Dominic Street in Galway. I used to work for a guy, originally from Sicily but with a distinctive Swiss German accent, almost as confusing as putting Crème caramel on the menu of a place making fresh pizzas and pastas! But hey! Between my lentil and carrot soup at £2.95 and that traditional French dessert, I can safely say that it had a way to draw the crowd in.
One of the customers was my now friend Harriet Leander, proud owner of Nimmo’s on the pier or rather the Long Walk Wine Bar by the Spanish Arch. She had a way to find the right places which had the right things on offer and I became one of them or rather, my Crème caramel. Not long after that, I was going to work for her in the magical Long Walk wine bar.
I joined the crew in 1999 and even though I had left my mark like many others from a Breton crew; Lolo, Eddie and myself, there was also Jerome from Lorraine, Daria from Perth, Andrew from South Africa and Sandra from the UK, somewhere; Harriet never asked me to do my Crème caramel in the restaurant, she is very respectful like that and to be honest, I have never thought about it until now. We were in our late twenties and I learnt a lot with the guys and Harriet, mostly about myself and my potential. We had a lot of fun together and there was always a bottle of wine open in the kitchen while we were cooking, cooking with wine I guess. Eddie and Lolo went to cooking schools in France, but they never made fun of me for the fact that I was self made, they respected my proverbial “hunger” for the job and Harriet – who often fought with the boys for being “too French”- saw it too. We sure had fun and it restored my self confidence after working for a confused Swiss German Sicilian!
So there, after over twenty years I decided to make my Crème caramel again, a lovely trip down memory lane from that wine bar hanging precariously over the Corrib River, the cliffs of Inis Mór or Árainn in the distance. It has been a “long walk” in many ways prophetic but we got there, I got there… I always do somehow, like an islander on his Ferry journey home, rolling and swaying with the waves of the wild Atlantic…
Crème caramel: You’ll need
- 50 cl of hot organic milk
- 3 fresh happy eggs
- 160g of organic caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod ( or a tbsp of vanilla extract)
Put the milk in a saucepan with the seeded vanilla. To do so, cut the pod in half and scrape the inside. Bring to the boil and let it cool until warm. Whisk the whole eggs with 80g of sugar until it turns white to a ribbon like texture.
Gently pour the hot milk and vanilla into the bowl while whisking and let it cool…
Put the rest of the sugar in a clear saucepan ( so you can gauge the colour of the caramel) and cover with water. Heat on a moderate fire but don’t stir; gently shake the pan as it bubbles up and turn dark.
Pour the caramel in the ramekins, this recipe should serve five of them . If the caramel is too thick, you can add a bit of water and keep heating.
Remove the foam from the egg and milk mix and pour gently in the ramekins. Cover each of them tightly with tin foil and place them in a deep baking tray. Heat the oven at 100 c. Fill the tray with hot water to just under the edge of the ramekin. Bake at that temperature for an hour and then pick one and dip a thin knife until the blade is clean. Raise the temperature to 150 c for the last 10-20 minutes, but keep checking or you will get sweet scrambled eggs. This is the hardest part of the recipe. Cool and refrigerate; serve the day after, by running a thin knife along the edges. And “pop” there it goes!
Good times, good friends, good memories…
Keep Well and Eat Happy