Holiday Spiced Crème Caramel

Made here with full-fat coconut milk so it’s dairy free. I also love this recipe with cow or goat milk (I’ve been known to also use Highlawn Farm half & half for a really rich, indulgent crème caramel…).

The trick to marking a creamy crème caramel is to steam the custard by putting the ramekins, egg cups or cake pan into a larger lasagna-type pan and adding hot water to that larger pan once you’ve put it into the oven.  AND, it’s a life-saver that you can make this recipe way in advance. Crème Caramel keeps in the refrigerator for about a week. Don’t unmold until you’re ready to serve.

Serves 8                                                                                             Bake at 350 degrees

one 14 oz can coconut milk (use full-fat) or 2 C full-fat milk or half & half 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 good local-farm or pastured eggs 1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/3 C grade B maple syrup (thicker, richer) 1/8 tsp good salt
another 1/3 C grade B maple syrup 1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground ginger
berries or mint sprig for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using little custard ramekins or pyrex egg cups or a round cake pan, grease with coconut oil (or with butter if you’re using “real” milk). Divide the first 1/3 C of maple syrup among ramekins (if you need a little more, that’s okay, use more). Place ramekins into a large lasagna-like baking pan. Blend remaining ingredients (except the berries) in a Vitamix a few seconds; a minute or two in a regular blender. Pour custard mixture slowly and carefully into each ramekin (¾ full). Don’t stir. You want the syrup on the bottom to stay there…. Place pan into oven and carefully add hot water into the bottom of pan just so it reaches ¼ way up the side of the ramekin. Be careful not to get water into custard!

Bake 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. You’ll need more time if you make a single, large custard. After custard has cooled, remove from water and place in frig until ready to eat. To serve, run a knife around the inner rim of crème to loosen. Turn each over into individual serving bowls. If using a large single pan for your crème, make sure your serving plate is slightly larger than the crème. Cover crème with plate, hold both together and invert. In either case, the crème will fall out easily with the syrup making a lovely sauce. Garnish with berries if you want.

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