June 10, 2014 by sarah
There once was three chickens
Called Mrs Red, White and Blue,
They laid so many eggs
I didn’t know what to do,
So I made some meringues,
Ice cream and creme caramels,
That used up lots of eggs
And then all was well.
Mrs Red, White and Blue enjoying the sun in the garden.
Mrs Red enjoying rhubarb leaves.
My girls are currently on full steam with the egg laying. Which means I get at least two eggs every day and three eggs most days so a potential of about 20 eggs a week. Even with selling a box or two at work, it still leaves a lot of eggs for eating! Many are eaten at breakfasts, lunches or light dinners as boiled, poached, scrambled or baked eggs with various accompaniments but this usually leaves a box or two of eggs and me wondering what to do with them. So here is my go to list for inspiration when there are eggs to use and cooking to be done. If I spy a recipe I want to use that uses yolks, I make sure I also have an egg white recipe in mind, and visa versa, though egg whites do freeze well if necessary.
– Mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce
Sweet – whole eggs
– Sponge cake especially Genoese sponge/swiss roll/roulade
– Choux pastry e.g. profiteroles
– Lemon tart
– Bread and butter pudding
– Custard Tart
Sweet – whites
– Meringue, pavlovas
– Angel food cake
– Macaroons, of various types
– Mousses and soufflés
Sweet – yolks
– Lemon curd
– Gateau Breton
– Custard/creme anglais – therefore accompaniment to stewed fruit or a steamed pudding and of course, the base for making
– Ice cream
– Crème patisserie – filling for fruit tarts or a base for trifles
Lovely bowl of fresh eggs.
And now for the recipe – a delectable smooth and creamy favourite – creme caramel. When homemade, it is a million miles away from the insipid stuff in pots in the supermarket or even the ubiquitous pudding option in any food establishment pertaining to be remotely French. It works because the creamy coolness of the just set custard is counter balanced by a caramel that is a bit acid or tart so you must get enough colour on the caramel to get that.
500g milk (whole milk ideally or fat reduced milk with splash of cream, though I have used semi-skimmed and it turns out fine)
1 vanilla pod
4 medium eggs
Caramel – 50g sugar
Put the milk into a non-stick heavy based pan, split the vanilla pod and add the seeds and empty pod to the milk and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse until ready to use. Heat oven to 150 C/fan 120 C.
Make the caramel by heating the sugar with 1 tablespoon of water in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. If the sugar is crystallising around the edge of the pan, wipe around the edge with a silicon pastry brush dipped in water. Continue to bubble until a deep golden colour is reached and then pour the caramel directing into the bottom of 4-5 ramekins. Watch out as hot sugar is very hot and will burn. Allow to cool then grease the insides of the ramekins with a little butter.
In a bowl whisk the eggs and remaining sugar until combined but do not continue to whisk (adding air bubbles at this stage will put air bubbles in your creme). Strain over the infused milk and whisk in. Strain this egg and milk mixture into a jug and use to fill the moulds evenly.
Sit the moulds in a roasting tin and pour boiling water around the outside until comes half way up ( a bain marie – lovely name, means Mary’s bath) and cook in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until just set (should still wobble a little). Take out of the water and allow to cool entirely and then refridgerate before unmoulding. To unmould, run you finger around the top of the custard to prise it away from the ramekin, sit the base of the ramekin in hot water for 30 seconds then up end over a plate. Serve immediately as the caramel will lose its colour.
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