In this dessert the caramelised sugar is baked under the custard and creates a melting golden top layer when you turn them out. This is an excellent choice for a dinner party since it must be made in advance – make individual servings or one large custard.
¾ cup sugar
½ cup water
4 eggs or 6 egg yolks
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup full-cream milk
1 cup cream
½ tsp vanilla essence
1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Have ready an ovenproof dish in which the dish or ramekins for the custard will fit neatly.
2. Combine the first measure of sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
3. Bring to the boil, stop stirring and watch closely, shaking the pan occasionally. When the sugar has become a rich, dark – but not burnt – caramel, carefully pour a little into each ramekin. Tilt the ramekins around to spread the caramel over the base and put them into the ovenproof dish.
4. Beat together the whole eggs or egg yolks with the second measure of sugar, milk and cream until well combined but not frothy. Add the vanilla and strain into a jug.
5. Pour the custard into the caramel-lined ramekins and pour enough hot water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Slide the whole assembly carefully into the oven.
6. Bake for 30–40 minutes or until the custard is just set, but still wobbly in the centre. Lift the custards out, cool on a rack, then chill overnight.
7. To serve, loosen the edges with a round-bladed table knife and invert them onto individual plates – each custard will be surrounded with a pool of thin, golden caramel.