I have been making this recipe for at least 30 years and it never fails. About that time, I treated myself to some wonderful French glazed custard cups that look a bit like little flower pots. I don’t recall where I got them, but I have loved them from the moment I saw them. However, this recipe will work perfectly well in any oven-safe custard cups. I generally make this with dark rum, but today decided to use an orange liqueur. You can make it without the alcohol, but it does add something special and the alcohol actually burns off during the cooking, so it is just the flavoring that you are left with. The trickiest part about making these is carmelizing the sugar. It only really requires a little bit of patience and then the ability to work quickly. This recipe is for two and I believe originated in an old Bon Appetit article on “Cooking for Two” however it easily can be doubled or tripled.
Yield: 2 servings
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tablespoons
1 cup half & half
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 teaspoons dark rum or orange liqueur
Grated zest of one navel orange
- In a small pan (like an omelette pan) pour 1/4 cup of sugar and set over medium heat. Watching it carefully – BUT DO NOT STIR! – heat the sugar until the edges begin to turn a lovely caramel color. This can take 10 minutes or even a little more. If you get impatient and turn your heat too high, the sugar will burn. If you stir the sugar, it won’t caramelize. Once it looks like this photo, you can then carefully stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it is completely liquified. If you go too far and burn the sugar, just throw it out and start again. It cannot really be salvaged, Thankfully sugar is your least costly imgredient.
- As soon as the sugar is completely liquified, quickly and carefully (sugar can cause terrible burns) divide the liquid between your custard cups and immediately swirl the sugar around to coat the bottom and partially up the sides of the cups. You must work quickly since it hardens almost immediately.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a bowl or large measuring cup, combine all of the other ingredients and beat it well with a wire whisk to break up the egg and yolks and to distribute the orange zest.
- Evenly divide the liquid over the now hardened caramel. You should have enough to go to the top of each 1 cup-size custard dish.
- Place the dishes in a pan and fill the pan with boiling water to about half-way up the sides of the custard cups. This is a bain Marie.
- Place the pan with the custard cups and water into the oven and bake for about 55 minutes.Do not overbake. There should just be the slightest jiggle of the custard. It will continue to set after it cools. If you overbake it, the top will split and the custard will still taste good but it won’t be silky and a crust may develop around the edges.
- Cool slightly and then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- When you are ready to serve, take a thin knife and carefully slide it around the edge and down the side of the custard mold. Place a dish over the top, flip it over, give it one good shake and it should come right out. The caramel will drip down the sides. Depending on the dish you bake it in, there will be a disk of caramel left in the bottom. You can either crack it out and eat it, or dissolve it with hot water.