Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lychee Creme Caramel

Delicious!  Creme caramel is such a classic dessert!
     I have cooked caramels flavored with fruits, liquors, bay leaves and spices in the past.  I have done a few different textures by varying the egg cream proportions in the past.  This lychee creme caramel has a soft custard texture.  I'll post a recipe for the light firm textured French or Italian creme caramel sometime soon.
     When adding fruit to a creme caramel, the fruits juices will alter the texture of the custard when baking.  The fruit will sink to the bottom and become part of the caramel.
     Recipe:  Heat a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Add 1 cup of sugar.
     Reduce the liquid quickly.
     When the sugar starts to enter the syrup stage, keep a close eye on the sugar.
     When the sugar caramelizes to a light amber brown color,  pour it into a custard cup or a souffle dish.
     You only need enough amber colored caramel to coat the bottom of a custard cup with about a 1/4 inch layer.
     Set the custard cup aside.
     Peel, seed and chop about 5 or 6 lychee nuts.
     Mix 1/2 cup of cream with two egg yokes in a bowl and set it aside.
     Heat 1/2 cup of cream gently over medium/low heat in a sauce pot.  (For this custard, the total amount of cream should be about 4 times the amount of the egg yokes.) 
     Add a few drops of vanilla extract.
     Add a few pinches of sugar.
     Add a tiny splash of brandy.
     Add a pinch of nutmeg.
     Pour the hot cream mixture into the cold egg yoke and cream mixture while whisking steadily.
     Pour the blended custard mixture into the custard cup with the caramel in it.  Fill the custard mold so it is about 1/4 inch from the top of the mold.  
     Place the chopped lychee fruit in the custard.  (The chopped fruit wil sink to the bottom and become part of the caramel glaze when baked.) 
     Place the custard cup in a high sided baking pan.  Add enough water so the water is half way up the sides of the custard cup.  (Bain Marie.)
     Place the custard cup and bain marie into a 325 degree oven.
     Bake till you can place a tooth pick in the custard and it comes out clean. 
     Remove the custard cup from the pan and let it cool.
     Refrigerate the custard for 4 hours.
     Run a paring knife against the inside edge of the sides of the custard cup.
     Heat a little water over medium heat in a saute pan.
     Place the custard cup in the hot water so the bottom of the cup warms up.  (This step will loosen the caramel and make it easy to plate the custard.)
     Invert the custard cup on to a dessert plate.
     Tap the custard cup against the plate and the creme caramel should pop out onto the dessert plate.  The caramel sauce will flow around the custard on the plate.
     Garnish with fresh lychee fruit.
     This is a wonderfully flavored creme caramel!  Lychee and cream go so well together.  The lychee sinks to the bottom of the custard and becomes part of the caramel.  Lychee Creme Caramel is an elegant tasting and pretty dessert that is easy to make!  ... Shawna

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