The last of the puddings. This is becoming quite sad, although there are two sections from the book where I still have 3 recipes left to bake!! I think I’m avoiding these if I’m honest with you!
This looked quite a simple pudding to make, although reading through the recipe it doesn’t actually take much time to make, but you have to leave it overnight before you do the second stage and then again for another two hours after that. So these wouldn’t be ready for a day!
The oven was put on to preheat at Fan 140°C and eight small ramekins were greased. If you want to make this as one big dish then use a 900ml shallow ovenproof dish.
I actually started from the second thing Mary says to do in the recipe as you have to allow this to cool. In a small saucepan I measured out 300ml single cream and 300ml double cream and heated this until it was at scalding point (just too hot to put your finger in!). This was then left to cool slightly.
Whilst the cream was cooling in a bowl I measured out 25g caster sugar and added to this 4 egg yolks (the egg whites I would use in another recipe I still have to do from the book), together with a few drops of vanilla extract. Mary does say you could use vanilla sugar instead and gives a tip on how to make vanilla sugar (I’ll put this at the bottom of the page for anybody who wishes to make some themselves). This was all beaten together.
Next came the difficult part, the cream had to be poured into the egg yolks in a steady stream whilst you were beating it all the time. I decided to use my electric hand whisk for this and with the whisk in one hand and the saucepan in the other, I just prayed that the bowl would stay still and wouldn’t move. It was a little messy, but not too bad, just a few splashes from pouring the cream in. I wasn’t sure how long you had to beat the mixture for as mine was quite frothy by the time I had poured all the cream in.
It was then a case of spooning the mixture into the ramekins. The best way to do this I found was to use a soup ladle. With the eight dishes filled virtually to the top, I must admit I was rather concerned as to where the topping would go (step 2).
The dishes had to be stood in a roasting tin that had been half filled with hot water and baked in the oven for around 25-30 minutes. If you are cooking one large dish, then this needs to be baked for around 45 minutes. Mine took 25 minutes to set. They were removed from the oven and the roasting dish and allowed to cool. Once they had cooled they were chilled in the fridge overnight.
It was now time for Stage 2. The grill was put on to preheat – hot. Demerara sugar was sprinkled over the top of each ramekin to the depth of 5mm (about 3 heaped teaspoons). These were then placed under the grill. I had a slight problem here as my husband was cooking a roast dinner for us and he had taken the tray out of the grill section of the cooker to use in the oven as he needed an extra shelf. I tried holding the tray up, but it was too heavy and too warm, so my husband retrieved his blow torch from the garage and melted the sugar using this. If you do put them under the grill, it should take 3-4 minutes for the sugar to melt and caramelize to a golden brown. Using the blow torch it literally took seconds!
They then had to be left to cool again and then put back into the fridge for at least another 2-3 hours before we could try them. Chilling them again allows the caramelized topping to soften slightly, which makes it easier to crack when you serve it.
When it became time to eat them they did indeed make a loud crack when you tapped the top with a spoon. They tasted very good and they were indeed ‘sheer luxury’ as Mary says. I personally think they needed a little more vanilla in them, perhaps next time I’ll make them using vanilla sugar. They certainly went down well with the family.
Mary’s Top Tip – Vanilla sugar adds a wonderful flavour. Simply store two to three vanilla pods in a jar of caster sugar. After about 2 weeks, the sugar is infused with the pungency of the vanilla.