25th September, 2018
I failed the first attempt at the dessert module for my chef training. I put it down to the troublesome creme caramel, where my caramel had an unappealing bitterness from the burnt sugar. Fortunately, in service training I had the opportunity to re-sit, and second time round I mastered that caramel. I have since had a fascination with creme caramel, ordering it whenever I see it on the menu. At home, I simplify the process into a one-dish baked custard. To avoid burning the sugar, I streamline the caramel sauce using a dark sugar such as muscovado (or brown sugar) that cooks into a deep caramel in minutes.
With the hens back on the lay this month it seems appropriate to celebrate by making custard. For a fresh spring feel I have also added homemade orange powder (directions below). This is a fun and versatile flavouring condiment that impressively infuses the custard with the scent of oranges. Alternatively, add zest from one orange to the heating milk, and strain.
Our backyard orange tree near to bursting this season motivated the orange powder preparation. For which I must acknowledge our new garden friends, the humble honey bee, for their timely pollination last November. Our neighbour, a beekeeper, needed a new home for a hive, so when he asked if we had a sunny position in the garden to put it, we naturally jumped at the chance.
Peel 5-6 oranges (If not organic soak oranges in warm water with ¼ cup white vinegar for 20 minutes, rinse and dry). Thinly peel and cut the zest into long spiral strips, avoiding the bitter pith. Scatter over a baking tray and place in the oven. Set the oven to 50 degrees Celsius fan bake (or as low as the oven will go) and wedge the handle of a tablespoon in the door to keep it slightly ajar to circulate the heat. Once the zest is crispy dry, about 3-4 hours, blend into a powder using a spice/coffee grinder. Store in a jar in the pantry. Add 1-2 teaspoons to cakes and cookies, or combine with salt and chopped rosemary to rub on chicken or lamb before roasting. Use the remaining whole oranges to make marinated orange slices (see recipe).
Orange-Kissed Baked Caramel Custard
- 1/3 cup muscovado or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1½ cups milk
- ½ cup cream
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
- 2 teaspoons orange powder
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease a round 25cm baking dish and sit inside a larger roasting tray to create a bain marie.
- Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan and stir over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until a golden caramel. Drizzle evenly into the base of the baking dish.
- Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until small bubbles form on the surface. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange powder. Add the milk and ream mixture while whisking constantly. Pour this over the caramel. Fill the roasting tray with boiling water to come halfway up the side of the custard dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the caramel is puffy and wobbly. Don't overcook, the custard will set as it cools. Serve warm or cold with orange slices.
4 oranges / 1 tablespoon sugar or honey / ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Use a small knife to cut away the outer skin from 3 whole oranges. Slice into 5mm rounds and place in a shallow bowl. Squeeze over the juice of the remaining orange, add sugar or honey and vanilla and mix well. Cover and place in the fridge. These can be made ahead of time and will soften over several hours.
Homegrown Kitchen 2019 Recipe Calendar
It’s back! After a two year hiatus and many requests, I have been busy creating a 2019 Recipe Calendar – consisting of 13 recipes and calendar months from December 2018 – December 2019.
Find details about my annual recipe calendar and register interest HERE – Homegrown Kitchen 2021 recipe calendar will be available in October 2020.
*This is a little stop-motion video I made with my daughter yesterday – she clicked while I turned the pages…