Is there any taste more sumptuous than smooth silky-textured custard with the contrast of bittersweet dark caramel? We think not. It's a culinary match made in heaven and it's not as tricky as you think.
2.Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan; stir over medium heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Brush the side of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush to remove any undissolved sugar crystals. Bring to the boil; boil uncovered, without stirring, until mixture is a deep caramel colour. Remove from the heat and pour toffee into a deep 20cm round cake pan. Tilt pan to coat side one-third of the way up with caramel.
3.Lightly whisk the eggs, vanilla extract and the extra sugar with a fork in a large jug or bowl until just combined. You don’t want to incorporate air into the custard.
4.Combine the cream and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to almost simmering. Gradually stir the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into the cake pan.
5.Place the cake pan in a medium baking dish; add enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the cake pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crème caramel is just set and has a slight wobble in the centre. Remove the cake pan from the baking dish, cool. Cover; refrigerate overnight.
6.Using your fingers, gently ease the crème caramel away from the side of the pan. Place the serving plate on top of the crème caramel then quickly invert it.
Not suitable to freeze or microwave. Use a solid heavy-based pan over medium heat. After the mixture has been stirred, the sugar dissolved and the mixture is boiling, don’t leave it – watch it carefully. As soon as you see some browning, tilt the pan until the brown areas merge. Keep tilting and turning the pan until the caramel is a rich golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat, let the bubbles disappear, then pour the caramel over the base and one-third of the way up the side of the cake pan. There is no need to grease the side of the cake pan. It is important to refrigerate the crème caramel for 12 to 24 hours, to allow the caramel to break down and liquefy. You’ll get at least 95 per cent of the caramel out of the pan. When you’re ready to turn the crème caramel out, use your fingers to ease it away from the side of the pan, gently wriggle the pan and you’ll “feel” the custard floating on the caramel. Put the serving plate on top of the cake pan and then quickly turn it upside down.