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Try this beautiful twist on a family favorite.
Preheat the oven to 150ºC/Gas 2. Set out 4 x 150ml ramekins.
Put the first quantity of sugar into a small, heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat and allow it to dissolve completely. At that point, turn up the heat and boil briefly until it becomes a dark golden caramel (2–3 minutes).
Pour the caramel into the ramekins straight away, dividing it equally, and sprinkle each one with a couple of lavender flowers. Set aside to cool (not in the fridge). Once the caramel has set, grease the insides of the ramekins with a thin layer of butter.
Place the milk in a saucepan and warm gently over a low heat until just below scalding point.
Meanwhile, put the eggs, vanilla seeds and lavender sugar into a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking as you do so, until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a jug for the next step.
Place the ramekins in a lined roasting tin (see tip below) and fill them with the custard, dividing it equally between them. Pour boiling water into the tray until it comes halfway up the sides of the dishes (being careful not to get any splashes in the custard).
Carefully transfer the bain-marie to the oven and cook the puddings for 25–35 minutes, until set but with a slight wobble in the middle.
Remove the dishes from the tin and allow to cool. This is best done overnight in the fridge so that the caramel and custard can properly combine.
To serve, loosen the crème caramels by dipping the ramekins in hot water and running a knife around the inside edge. Place a plate over each ramekin and, holding tightly, invert both, giving the dish a little shake if necessary. Serve decorated with the remaining lavender flowers.
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