Caramel custards with orange salad & almond biscuits

by Ray McVinnie | Cuisine issue #142
Serves: 6These taste a little like a classic crème caramel - a baked egg custard with caramel or toffee in the bottom of the container.

Almond Biscuits
makes about 36
100g butter
115g golden syrup
115g caster sugar
115g flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
125g sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or grease with a little butter.

Put the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until dissolved. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat. Stir in the flour, lemon juice and almonds.

Put well-spaced teaspoonfuls of the mixture on the baking trays. They will spread, so give them plenty of room. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes until spread, bubbling and golden.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container in single layers with baking paper between each.

Caramel Custards & Orange Salad
1 cup caster sugar
1⁄4 cup water
3 eggs
200ml full-cream milk
500ml cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 oranges, peeled with a sharp knife and pith removed
1 teaspoon honey
3 slices crystallised or glacé orange, cut into thin slices, or 1 tablespoon candied peel
3 tablespoons orange liqueur

Preheat the oven to 180°C fanbake.

Have 6 small heatproof ramekins (or bowls or small cups) about 100ml in capacity and a small lightly buttered heatproof tray ready.

Place 3⁄4 cup of the sugar in a saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once boiling, do not stir or the mixture may crystallise. Boil until golden brown. Remove from the heat and carefully pour a little of this caramel into each ramekin. Swirl each ramekin around so the caramel coats the bottom and sides, and goes hard. Cool.

Pour the remaining caramel on to the buttered tray to cool. Reserve.

Beat the eggs with the remaining sugar until thick, pale and creamy.

Put the milk, 200ml of the cream and the vanilla in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and, while stirring the eggs quickly and continuously, pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar. Cool for 5 minutes so the bubbles dissipate. Pour the mixture into the caramel-lined ramekins.

Place the ramekins in a roasting dish. Add enough hot water to come three-quarters of the way up the sides, place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until set but still wobbly in the middle when you shake them.

Remove from the oven and take the custards from the roasting dish. Cool the custards and chill for at least 5 hours.

Separate the orange segments and, using a sharp knife, cut small wedge-shaped pieces of orange out from between the membranes. Place these and any juice into a bowl.

Add the honey, crystallised orange or peel and the liqueur. Mix carefully but well and let stand 10 minutes so the honey melts.

Break the caramel into small pieces and whip the remaining cream. Serve each custard with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkling of caramel pieces, and with a small bowl of the orange salad and some biscuits on the side.

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