This Tea infused Creme Caramel with Maple syrup is a wonderful variation of the classic and well known dessert. It is made with the same technology as the traditional Creme Caramel but the small change in the products makes it a new and very pleasant taste experience.
In my country everyone remembers the Creme Caramel from their childhood: the dessert that all mothers, grandmothers and aunts knew how to make. Each woman believed that her own recipe was the best and of course, the kids were taking advantage of this in order to ask for another portion of the dessert.
In the past I had mastered the technique of Creme Caramel to perfection, but for about 10 years now I haven’t made this dessert at all. Remembering that fact, recently I decided to prepare it again but to make it somehow unusual. And apart from the recipe I decided to include in this post also some basic tips for a perfect Creme Caramel which you could use even when you make the traditional kind.
One of the most important moments of this dessert is the baking: it should be baked at the lowest possible temperature. I realised this through one personal experience which I had many years ago. At the time I was working in USA for several months through a students exchange program. I worked as a housekeeper at a cozy hotel owned by a nice couple. One evening we organised a dinner together with the owners and the other housekeeper of the hotel, so I decided to prepare a Creme Caramel for the occasion. I made it as normal and put it in the oven to get baked, setting the temperature at 180 degrees. Half an hour later I checked the oven and realised that my dessert did not change at all and also the oven was not very hot. I increased slightly the temperature but half an hour later the situation was the same. Then I set the temperature at 250 degrees just to find out that in another half hour the Creme Caramel was still liquid…
At that point I grasped that the American ovens show the temperature in Fahrenheit degrees and not in Celsius, as I was used to. That meant that in the past 1,5 hours the Creme Caramel was not being baked in the oven but was just drying out. I immediately increased the temperature to 350 degrees F and in 30-40 minutes the Creme caramel was ready. And it was perfect! Its texture was unbelievably smooth as the water in the pan was far from boiling during the whole baking process. I think this was my most successful Creme Caramel ever!
Today’s recipe brings a very pleasant hint of tea which is enhanced by the maple syrup and vanilla. You could use any kind of tea but Earl Grey will definitely give it a more intensive taste due to the added cardamon.
If you love Creme Caramel and if you want to go beyond the traditional taste, you will be impressed by this recipe!
- 100 g sugar
- 100 g maple syrup (can be substituted by honey or sugar)
- 600 ml whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1-2 teabags (any kind of tea can be used)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until caramelised. Be careful not to burn the caramel: its colour should not become too dark.
Spoon the caramel evenly into small ramekins.
In a small saucepan over medium heat combine milk and maple syrup. Stir occasionally until the milk reaches the point of boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and add the teabags inside. Let them stay in the milk between 3 and 10 minutes, depending how strong you prefer the infusion to become.
In a large bowl gently beat the eggs with a fork. Gradually add the milk mixture to the eggs: just one spoon at a time. When all the milk is added to the eggs and the mixture is homogeneous, pour the creme into the ramekins with caramel on the bottom.
Place the filled ramekins in a large baking pan and fill the pan with cold water. The water should cover the ramekins halfway. Place the pan in the oven.
Bake the Creme Caramel about 1 hour at a low temperature (130 - 140 degrees C) and another half hour at 160 - 170 degrees C. From time to time add cold water to the pan to prevent boiling.
When the Creme Caramel starts browning on top, remove the ramekins from the oven. Let them cool until room temperature and then transfer them to the fridge. Serve the Creme Caramel cold, inverted on a small plate.
Tips for a perfect Creme Caramel:
- Always bake it in a pan full of water. Don’t allow the water to boil! In order to avoid boiling, occasionally add a bit of cold water to the pan. In case the water starts boiling at some point, this won’t have an effect on the taste of the dessert but will make its consistency bubbly and uneven.
- Bake the Creme Caramel at a low temperature: start with about 130 degrees C and finish with 170 degrees C at the maximum.
- Don’t beat the eggs with a mixer. Mix them gently with a fork, just to combine the egg and yolk together.
Note: The Creme Caramel on the pictures was made with 1 bag of tea. If you use two bags, it will have a more intensive colour.