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Jul 17, 2014 02:36 PM

The caramel part of creme caramel, too hard

Caramelizing sugar and a little water, pouring it over the base of the flan dish, hardens very quickly. Custard on top and in the oven until just set.

Delicious..... and only some of the caramel is dissolving with the custard to get that delicious slightly burnt sweetness that offsets the rich custard so well. A thin but significant amount of the super hard caramel remains stuck to the base, impenetrable with a spoon.


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  1. The longer the flan is left to chill in the refrigerator the better - the caramel has more time to liquefy into the custard. I always make my flan early in the day for that night, or the night before.

    5 Replies
    1. re: lesliej

      Thank you, I'll try that. And I so love it when out of the oven for just an hour or two.

      1. re: andrewtree

        The Flan needs to sit at least overnight for the Caramel to liquify. When pouring the hot Caramel into the mold it should only be an 1/8th of an inch thick if it is much thicker it may not completely dissolve. If that happens it is usually in a solid Disk which you can just remove after unmolding.

        1. re: chefj

          Thank you. And when I've tried to use less caramel I don't fully coat the base. Is there a trick to making a more viscous caramel that will spread thin? Will caramelizing with more water work?

          1. re: andrewtree

            No. Caramel does not have any water left in it.
            The other part of your question doesn't make any sense to me. More viscous mean thicker not thinner.
            If you cut back on the amount of Caramel and it is not enough to coat the bottom then the Thickness is not the problem.
            You just need to make the Flan further ahead of time.

    2. Add some heavy cream when making the caramel so it's more sauce than candy.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Zalbar

        At what stage do you add the cream?

        1. re: andrewtree

          This will allow the Caramel (now a Sauce) to mix with the Custard which is contrary to the Dish. If you want a traditional Flan/Crème Caramel I would advise against adding anything to the Caramel.

      2. What type of sugar are you using? If it is not 100% pure cane sugar you will have problems with caramel and some other things too. Most store brands of sugar are beet sugar and though they look the same and in many cases are just fine but in baking and in making things like caramel they don't cook the same way. Not to get too technical but the carbon linkages are different.

        We had a discussion about this several years ago on CH. You might be able to find the thread and get more information.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Candy

          I use evaporated organic cane juice sugar which caramelizes just fine.

          1. re: Candy

            Hi Candy,

            This sounds very interesting to me. I have plain white sugar from Costco. Should I be worried that it's not 100% cane sugar?

            I had the same problem tonight with my creme caramels. Caramel part stayed stuck to the ramekin. I thought it was because I didn't oil the ramekin. Could this be the case? (other times, I have oiled the ramekin and the creme caramels came out fine). I made it early afternoon.

            1. re: xiaobao12

              You need to let them set at least over night for the Caramel to dissolve. No need to oil the Ramekin if there is an undissolved disk it is better for it to stay in the Mold.

          2. I always make creme caramel the day before I want to serve it. Letting it set in the refrigerator overnight allows the caramel to dissolve into a sauce. But not every single bit of the caramel actually liquefies - there is always some left sticking to the baking dish, which I think is normal. I recently made some that I actually had to bake two days before serving for logistical reasons and it turned out delicious, with plenty of caramel sauce. But even then, there was some left in the dish when I turned it out onto the serving platter.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nyleve

              You could probably cut back on the amount of Caramel you are putting in the Mold, but I agree that a Disc of undissolved Caramel poses no real problem.
              I often make them many Days ahead they hold Great.