So this is a little weird... It's like, "Chris, you're a data scientist! You do math and programming and stuff. Why are you talking about custards?" But it's because I love baking, and am proud of the stuff I make. So I'm going to start posting recipes that I like.
This recipe is adapted from "White Chocolate-Lime Crème Caramel" in The Art and Soul of Baking (2008), pp. 350—352.
Active Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 5.5 Hours
Yield: 6 Custards
|Custard||Whole milk||3 cup / 24 oz|
|Custard||Sugar||4.5 tbsp / 2.25 oz|
|Custard||Lime zest||3 limes|
|Custard||Vanilla bean||2 beans|
|Custard||Large egg||4 or 5 eggs|
|Caramel lining||Water||0.75 cup / 6 oz|
|Caramel lining||Sugar||1.5 cup / 10.5 oz|
|Caramel lining||Cream of tartar||0.5 tsp|
- Medium saucepan
- Small saucepan
- Ceramic ramekins (x6)
- Medium mixing bowl
- Baking pan
- Fine mesh strainer
- Large measuring cup
- Prepare the custard:
- Heat the milk, sugar, vanilla bean, and lime zest in the medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches a simmer.
- Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 1.5 hours (or longer for a stronger lime flavor)
- Make the caramel:
- Combine the water, sugar, and cream of tartar in the small saucepan.
- Heat on low, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to a boil on high heat, swirling the contents occasionally
- Line the ramekins:
- Once the caramel reaches a deep golden-brown color, remove from the heat and distribute among the porecelain ramekins.
- While the caramel is still liquid, tilt the ramekins to coat the sides in caramel
- Preheat the oven to 325° and place the baking pan on the middle rack
- Temper the eggs:
- Uncover the saucepan with the lime and vanilla-infused milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Crack the eggs into the medium mixing bowl and whisk.
- Whisking constantly, pour the heated milk into the mixing bowl, about 0.5 cups at a time.
- Once all contents are thoroughly blended, strain the custard into the large measuring cup
- Bake the custard:
- Divide the custard evenly among the 6 porcelain ramekins.
- Place the ramekins onto the baking pan.
- Pour enough hot water into the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Lay aluminum foil on top of the ramekins, covering them entirely.
- Bake the custards for about 40 minutes, or until they set (the centers no longer wiggle when you tap the ramekin with a spoon)
- Cool the custards:
- Remove the custards from the baking pan and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Allow to cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes.
- Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.
- Unmold and serve:
- Remove custard from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Run a knife along the inner edge of the ramekin, pressing against the side of the ramekin as to not tear the custard.
- Hold a serving plate on top of the ramekin and flip over. The custard should separate cleanly and fall onto the plate.
- Optionally, garnish the custard with candied lime zest or candied lime peel and serve
 — The caramel can be prepared and applied to the ramekins up to a day in advance. Just keep refrigerated until you're ready to build the custard.
 — Candied peel/zest is pretty easy to make. If you're using the full peel, cut it into quarter-inch-wide strips first and blanch. Bring equal parts sugar (in cups) water and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the zest or peel and cook for 30 minutes (zest) or 60 minutes (peel), until the lime turns translucent. Remove with a slatted spoon, drain, and toss in sugar. Let dry and store in a sealed, airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.