Crème Caramel is a very classic dessert but many people are too intimidated to try to make what is, in reality, not a very difficult preparation. I like experimenting with adding flavour elements to the custard and adding fruit syrups as well. I particularly like this lemon and blueberry version probably because wild Newfoundland blueberries go so well with practically anything lemon.
For the caramel:
In a small heavy saucepan combine the sugar and lemon juice and boil over medium heat until the mixture turns a rich golden brown and large bubbles form on top. This should take under 10 minutes. Do not walk away from the stove at this stage, this sugar can burn very quickly after the optimum color is achieved. While still hot pour the hot caramel into the bottom of 9 ramekins in equal portions. Swirl the caramel up the sides of the ramekins to coat before the candy solidifies. You must now let this caramel cool and harden for about 15-20 minutes before adding the custard.
For the custard:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 tbsp lemon zest, very finely chopped
Meanwhile whisk together well the eggs and the sugar until pale in color. Remove the vanilla bean and slowly add the scalded cream and milk to the eggs and sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place ramekins in a baking dish. Pour custard mixture into the prepared ramekins and fill almost to the top. Place dish in the oven on the middle rack and pour boiling water in the baking dish to about 2/3 the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40-50 minutes until custard is set. It will still be wiggly but not too loose. Remove from oven. Allow ramekins to sit in the water bath for an additional ½ hour then remove them from the bath and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight preferably) before serving.
When chilled run a small knife around the inside edge of the ramekin and place a serving plate over the top. Flip the plate over, give the bottom of the ramekin a tap with the handle of your knife and remove the ramekin.
Serve this with a garnish of blueberry syrup.
1 cup blueberries
½ cup sugar
Boil together gently for about 15 minutes and strain through a sieve. Chill.