Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, co-founders of the recipe website Food52, share this popular user-submitted dessert recipe from their site.
Prior to starting the site, Hesser was a reporter at The New York Times and served as the food editor at Times Magazine. Merrill worked at the venerated Cook's Illustrated, and collaborated with Hesser on "The Essential New York Times Cookbook."
This recipe requires only six ingredients and can be made ahead of time (in fact, it's better that way) which means it's perfect for easy entertaining.
- ½ vanilla bean
- 2 c heavy cream
- ½ c sugar
- 1 ½ T water
- 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- Fine sea salt, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
2. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. In a small saucepan, combine the pod, seeds, and cream and bring to just below a simmer over low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 6 T sugar and the water, and place over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
4. Increase the heat to high and let the liquid bubble away. Do not stir; just swirl the pan occasionally until the liquid turns dark amber, about 4 minutes. (This happens quickly, so watch carefully.)
5. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and save for another use. Slowly stir the warm cream into the caramel. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with 2 T sugar and pinch of salt until light and lemon colored.
7. Whisk a little of the cream-caramel mixture into the egg yolks to temper the yolks. Gradually add the rest until all incorporated. Strain the mixture into a pitcher or large measuring cup.
8. Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins. (If you like your caramel a bit salty, sprinkle a few extra grains of sea salt on top of each one.)
9. Place the ramekins in a shallow pan. Place the pan in the oven, and fill the pan with cold water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
10. Bake until the custard is set in the middle, for about 1-1 ¼ hours.
11. Remove from the oven, and take the ramekins out of the water bath. Let cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours; for best results, chill overnight.
Total time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
From PANNA, Issue 8. Copyright (c) 2013 by How 2 Media, LLC.