Friday, December 4, 2015

Salted Caramel Custard – My Newest Favorite Dessert Ever

Yes, if you asked me right now, this salted caramel custard would be my favorite dessert. These easy “pots de crèmes” are just sweet enough, just salty enough, and just drop-dead gorgeous enough.

I used Maldon sea salt to garnish, which has quite large, but very light crystals, so we’re not adding as much salt as it may appear. Think of a big, fluffy snowflake, floating down onto your warm palm. Stay with me here. As soon as that huge flake lands, it melts into a tiny drop of water. It’s sort of the same thing here.

This recipe will make exactly six (6.5 ounce) ramekins, but you can use any size you want, as long as you monitor the cooking time. Speaking of which, there are many variables effecting how long yours will take, such as ramekin size/shape, and how close they’re packed together, so the times given here are just a guideline.

Simply bake until the custard is just set, and you get that signature “jiggle” when you wiggle. By the way, I wasn’t kidding about eating these cold. I know it’s very hard not to eat a little bit before they’re chilled, but these are so vastly superior in taste and texture when cold, we’re going to need you to be strong. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for six (6.5 ounce) ramekins:
9 large egg yolks
2/3 cup white sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon fine salt)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
flaky sea salt to garnish

- Bake at 300 F. about 45 min to an hour, or until set.

45 comments:

Mark Echevarria said...

I would absolutely love a video on the different salts and what it means regarding their use in recipes. Delicious looking as always, can't wait to make this. Thanks again chef John.

Amanda Chadwell said...

No need to post this comment; just wanted to let you know that your search box appears to be broken. Hope you're having a great day and thanks for all the great recipes!

Judy said...

Those look amazeballs Chef. I will totally have to woman up and try this recipe out ;)

Also, I would also love a video about the different salts! Please do make one!

Géraldine said...

Dear Chef John,

French pastry chef here. I had to leave a small comment about the part where you add the cream to the caramel.
If you do not want the caramel to crystalize and form a big chunk, you need to heat the cream in another saucepan while the sugar melts, without boiling it. I know this doesn't change much in to the end result, but it would scare less people away, as you said it quite right yourself, one might think they messed up their caramel if they do not keep on stirring after it crystallized. So why not avoid the crystallization altogether ?

Best regards,

Christopher Zilla said...

You can use the leftover Salted-Caramel-Custard-flavored water from the baking pan to make savory ice cubes.

Chef John said...

Géraldine,

Since I know for sure the crystallization doesn't effect the final product, I don't see the need to dirty another pan, plus it's clearly the more visually fun way to go. Also, some people may have gone a few seconds too far with the sugar, and the cold cream cools the pan quicker.

But, thanks for the tip anyway! Good for people that don't want the thrill of my method. ;)

Robin Betts said...

I think I might top mine with almond praline... If I'm cunning, I'll get it out of the same pan. Maybe OTT?

David McCutcheon said...

Made it tonight, and it is wonderful. We ate one before it was totally cool. Loved your comments on when the custard was fully cooked. Also your video on salt would be nice to see.

David McCutcheon said...

If it taste slightly like coffee, did I burn the sugar?

rodentraiser said...

This looks so delicious - another one I have to make! I've heard Maldon sea salt was the absolute end to all salt, but it's supposed to be a wee bit pricy, too. Nevertheless, I want to get it one day and try it out for myself.

And I was going to add that the Search feature appears to be wonky, but it looks like Amanda beat me to it.

David McCutcheon said...

There was a hint of coffee flavor even though I didn't add any. Does that mean I burned the caramel a little?

Chef John said...

If it was an unpleasant hint of coffee, then maybe, but if it tasted good, then that's normal. :)

Sandy said...

I made this last night for dessert, it was really yummy, thank you for all the great recipes you share with us!

Bethany said...

This looks amazing! If I was going to use my previously made salted caramel sauce (also your recipe) for this to give myself a head start - how much would I use? One cup? The whole jar? Will experiment and report back. Thank you for your videos. Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Unknown said...

Could I bake a whole pan of these instead of in small ramekins for a potluck?

Jason Smith said...

Sorry, Chef....I had to top it with demerara sugar and Blast it with butane!!

Sooooo Good! ;-))


Thanks for another outstanding recipe!

nossi said...

oh man, i read mustard instead of custard...

Chris K. said...

How difficult would it be to use this as a base for a layered dessert? A layer of ganache for example. Could I just bake a smaller quantity, chill it, add a layer of warm ganache, and chill it again? Or do you think that would be just gilding the lily (so to speak)?

Roy Golan said...

Albeit this is slightly unrelated, are you going to post any Hanukkah recipe? I absolutely love your videos and am hoping for a recipe to blow my guest's socks off. Thanks,
-Roy Golan

Chef John said...

Chris K., I'd file that one under "if it's not broken..." ;)

Stuart Wesolik said...

Made it last night. So delicious! You've made me look good twice this week as I also made the chili recipe(how to lose a beer) for another gathering. I always give you the credit though.

Mariah H said...

Can I make this in one big dish as opposed to small ramekins? I'd like to make this for a party of 20+ so ramekins won't work. If positive, should I adjust the oven temp or cooking time? I appreciate your reply!

Chef John said...

Yes, same everything, except for the cooking time will be different, but by how much I don't know, so be sure to keep checking.

Gemini said...

On the subject of separating egg yolks from whites, there's another method that's particularly easy and efficient. Find an empty and clean plastic water bottle. Crack all of your eggs into a container (such as a large bowl). Squeeze the bottle gently and place the end firmly against an egg yolk, then loosen your grip. The egg yolk will be sucked into the bottle. Squeeze the bottle again to get the egg yolk out.

Angus Chang said...

Hi Chef John,

you mention Milk in the ingredient list, but i didn't notice you use any in the video. I only heard cream!

Chef John said...

Check video again, as we added the milk to the hot cream. :)

Lynn said...

How far in advance can this be made?

Roopam Sinha said...

Can this be made in a bigger dish instead of ramekins?

flying flour said...

chef John! I'm going to make this for Christmas Dinner!!!!

Gaelin Wade said...

Hi Chef John, Love your videos. You make everything seem so easy. For the holiday, I want to make a dessert but can't decide which. Creme brulee. Caramel custard. Or Creme Caramel. Which is going to best fulfill my craving for something sweet, creamy, caramelly (is that a word?) and vanilla-y (or that?). (I really don't like salt in my caramel - I know the horror)

I would make them all (without the salt) but that would be too gluttonous right?

Faustina Chay said...

Hello chef John! I tried the recipe above but I don't think I quite nailed it .

I noted small "blisters" at the top of my custard. Also , the top of the custard was firmer than the custard in the centre / bottom. Would appreciate troubleshooting tips!

Sarah said...

Thanks for the recipe, Chef John. I made this for our early Christmas dinner for two, and it was delicious!
I only have 4 ramekins, so I made the recipe with 2/3 of the ingredients and it turned out fine. I also only had medium eggs.
I agree that cleaning a strainer is a pain! I think that straining the mixture would have helped remove the bubbles floating on top of the mixture and created a smoother surface like in yours, but it was still a success :)

cristian rivera said...

Hi!
To what temperature would you cook the caramel? Thanks!

Lisa M said...

My husband begged me to make this once I showed him your video. He LOVES it! Thanks Chef!

Ruaa A said...

Chef how can make for 2 ppl instead of 6?

Luisawithlove said...

HI Chef John! I just made this and I wanted to post it on my blog later tonight! I'll be sure to have everyone check out your blog and youtube channel so everyone knows where this great recipe came from! Thank you for all that you do! I love your recipes and humor!

Much love from Colorado!

Eva Young said...

Hi Chef John,

I'm dying to try this recipe out. My only question would be, if i don't have heavy whipping cream, can I use whipping cream instead? If so, what other adjustments do I need to make?

Thanks a lot.

Jackson Lindom said...

Can this custard be made on the stove top with steady whisking like your Marsala custard?

Sienna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

i usualy do this recipe changeing the dry caramel part for dulce de leche. i believe it makes a smother flan with the same caramel flavor if not beter but thats just my opinion.

Tom Calligas said...

@faustina shay,

before you bake you can hit the tops of the custards quickly with a butane torch to remove bubbles and ensure a smooth top.
This is what we do with the creme brûlées we make at work.

Unknown said...

Hey, Chef John! Can I use this recipe for filling eclairs?

CG said...

Hello,

I have some questions & suggestions... could you do a video on how to use up sugar? I was just clicking randomly through your videos looking for something. I have the same situation with flour.

I don't have a pan to put the ramekins in... not sure if I can use my 9x13 nonstick baking pan... I feel like I remember instructions not to put water in it. Do you know anything about that?

I don't have ramekins either... am going to use my handmade ceramic bowls...

Perhaps you should put a "required tools" list as well as ingredients list... I just got heavy cream, eggs, and milk and thought I was prepared... :p


Thanks,

CG said...

Well they are in the oven... and what do I do with the egg whites? A link at the bottom of this page to a recipe that uses 9 egg whites would be useful!

Thanks!

Jason Smith said...

CG NEVER post again....you are way to F$##$## S$%^^&& to be in the kitchen. :P