Creme de la Maple

Last night I made the second dish out of fifteen that I resolved to try in 2011.  Maple Creme Caramel was the recipe and I thought it came out nicely. I thought it was a little too sweet for my taste, and did not have as much of a maple flavor as I would have liked, but it’s kind of hard to go wrong when eating cream and maple syrup. One thing I might try if I did it again is to use straight up maple syrup instead of caramel, and then reduce the volume of the maple syrup in the custard. If anyone has any idea if that would turn out well, please let me know. Below is the recipe, and I regret I can’t provide the source It was something I clipped out of something some long time ago. My comments are in parentheses.

Maple Creme Caramel –serves 4

The Caramel
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. water

The Custard
1/2 C. pure maple syrup
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1-1/2 C. whipping cream
1/2 C. whole milk (If you are splurging by making this dish, you may as well splurge a little more for the organic milk and eggs. Not only is it a good deal for our home planet, but these are two items that are distinctly more flavorful if they are produced organically.)

For the caramel: Preheat oven to 300 degrees (I actually waited to do this till pretty close to the end of the process because it really doesn’t take long for an oven to heat up to that low of a temperature). Lightly butter four 3/4 cup souffle dishes or custard cups. Combine sugar and water in a heavy small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar melts. Increase heat; boil without stirring until deep amber color, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. (It actually took me almost 20 minutes and I never did get a very deep amber color.) Using oven mitts as aid, quickly rotate dishes to coat sides with some of caramel. Set aside.
For the custard: Whisk maple syrup, yolks and egg in medium bowl to blend. Combine cream and milk in heavy medium saucepan and bring to boil. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Divide custard among prepared dishes. Set dishes into 13x9x2 baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of dishes. Cover baking pan with foil. (I ended up with enough extra to fill at least another custard cup, if I would have had one. Baked it in a random covered dish I had.)

Bake custards until set in center, about 55 minutes (I went for more like 65 minutes). Chill custards uncovered until cold, at least 5 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover, keep refrigerated. To serve, run a knife around dish sides to loosen custards. Invert onto plates.

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