Syrup for Creme Caramel
I'm thinking of making creme caramel for a dinner party this weekend. I'm hesitating because the syrup for the dessert scares the bejesus out of me. I'm thinking of a cheaters way to make this tasty treat. Do you think if I use maple syrup in place of making my own sugar caramel will result in the same effect? Yes I know the flavour will differ but I'm just wondering how the end result will turn out, if it'll burn.
Thanks in advance!
The carmelized sugar is very easy. Just keep an eye on it - don't walk away from the stove. Nope, maple syrup won't do! If you burn it the first time, just throw it out and try again. Once you have mastered carmelizing sugar, the whole world opens up! Good luck.
It isn't difficult to make the caramel sauce. I use superfine sugar -- much easier. Here is what I learned by trial and error: Dissolve the sugar in cold water before starting to cook it. Reduce the sugar water, watching carefully. Do not stir, but you may swirl the pan a little if you must. When it starts to turn golden, watch verrrrry carefully till a nice deep golden color. Pour immediately into your mold and turn the mold around to line the pan a little up the sides and the bottom. Voila.
In David Joachim's book "The Science of Good Food" he uses a microwave... I was a doubter until I interviewed him and had him make some for me. Easy - Peasy! I would have to go back to my notes, but I seem to remember 7 minutes as the amount of time?
Anyway take a look around the web for his book.
If I can do it, anyone, even you, can do it. I'm not much of a cook, but when I do have a dinner party I often serve coffee creme caramel, and the carmelized sugar is the easiest part. I use a cast iron pan and I've never had a problem. It's my favorite dessert.
Everyone has covered how easy the caramel is...don't be afraid! But to further expand on why the maple syrup won't work. The caramel hardens in the bottom of the dish before pouring in the custard or else it would be a big mess. The only way I could see using maple syrup as a substitute would be just to bake the custards with no sugar and pour maple syrup over after turning them out on the serving plate. Would be a pale imitation of a real creme caramel.
I agree with Sooeygun. Part of what makes custard with carmel sauce over it so good is the slightly burnt flavor of the carmel sauce (just a tad of burnt flavor). Mostly, it is sweet, but the burnt flavor gives it an edge. If you poured maple syrup over the custard, you would just get more of the same sweetness that is in the custard: sweet on sweet--not nearly as good.
As for making the sauce scaring you, I agree it can be scary when you pour the water into the melted and carmelizing sugar. It bubbles up like crazy. The water turns to steam and bits of melted sugar can be propeled out of the pan. You can't really avoid the fireworks, but if you use a pot with high sides (think--a pot in which you boil the water for spaghetti), the volcano-like reaction will be safely contained. Just place the pot on the back burner of your stove while melting the sugar--or sugar syrup, depending on how you do it-- and pouring in the water. Keep the hood fan on high, too. Good luck! I hope that this helps.