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Easy Crème Caramel Dessert Recipe: A Family Favorite

Giovanna's dad was a brilliant Italian chef. As a result, Giovanna has a great interest in cooking delicious and nutritious food.

My mother's delicious recipe for crème caramel works every time!

My mother's delicious recipe for crème caramel works every time!

Family Recipe for Crème Caramel

When I was a girl, I had a little red book for keeping the easy dessert recipes that my mum and grandma taught me. One my favorites, by far, was delicious crème caramel.

I remember how much I used to love making the caramel itself because to me it was like working magic, watching the sugar slowly melting into the water and then changing color until it was just brown enough not to become bitter. I remember being fascinated by the bubbles.

I also loved shaking the little puddings out of their moulds when they were ready to be served.

These are great childhood memories of a little girl who was raised by a top-class Italian chef.

Today I make this dessert whenever I have too much milk in the fridge. The recipe is quite simple and doesn't require any special ingredients.

It has become a favorite with my family, as well, although my son prefers not to have the caramel on the top (or bottom!) of his.

I use special little tin receptacles, but you can use any oven-proof cups; for example, the ones used to make crème brûlée. Alternatively, you could make one large pudding using an oven-proof dish. This option allows you to decorate the top of the pudding with piped cream.

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Cook's Tips

Although this is an easy recipe, I urge you to follow the instructions for making the caramel closely because there is a certain trick to it.

  • Remember that the water in the bain-marie must never boil, or else the crème caramel will get bubbly and sponge-like. We are aiming for a nice, smooth pudding texture.
  • Once the puddings have cooled down put them in the fridge until you're ready to serve them.
  • If you leave them in the fridge overnight the caramel will soften and more will spill out over your pudding when you tip it out.
  • Serve them cold. Turn them out into a serving bowl. To loosen them run a knife round the edge, then turn the cup over onto the bowl and give it a shake. The pudding will drop out with the caramel on the top. I serve with fresh cream.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I have over the years.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 5 servings


For the pudding:

  • 1 1/2 pints milk
  • 1 piece lemon peel
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons soft brown sugar

For the caramel:

  • 8 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 2 (300°F / 150°C).
  2. Boil the milk with the lemon peel in it; then let it cool. Once cooled, remove the lemon peel and set aside.
  3. In a clean, dry, medium-sized saucepan over low heat, add the sugar.
  4. Do not stir the sugar. Gently swirl the pot around to prevent it from sticking. If you stir it with a spoon the sugar will turn to crystals. Watch carefully. When the sugar starts to melt, bubble, and turn dark, immediately remove from heat to prevent burning.
  5. Quickly but very carefully, pour a little of the caramelized sugar into each ramekin (or in the bottom of your ovenproof dish if you're making a large pudding). Set aside.
  6. Whisk the eggs and soft brown sugar together.
  7. Pour the eggs into the warm milk and whisk until they are completely blended.
  8. Strain the mixture and fill each ramekin (or large dish) to almost the brim, covering the caramel.
  9. Place on a baking tray and transfer to the oven. Fill the tin with water up to the two-thirds mark.
  10. Bake for 1 hour. Check with a toothpick inserted into the center. It should come out clean.

© 2013 Giovanna

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