Although it is essential to fully wrap the tops of the moulds before cooking, to prevent condensation dripping into the custards, it’s really no great hardship and you will be rewarded for your efforts tenfold.
Make sure the water you dunk the dariole moulds in is just boiled and refresh as often as necessary to ensure the caramel melts and flows out to create a glossy, amber pool over the custards. Served with raisins sticky and swollen with Pedro Ximenez, this dessert can’t help but make a lasting impression.
Ingredients for the Pedro Ximenez raisins Serves: 8
Ingredients for the crème caramels
- 140g caster sugar
- 140ml water
- 500ml double cream
- 2 medium eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
- unsalted butter, for greasing the dariole moulds
- First, make the Pedro Ximenez raisins: put the tea in a saucepan with the raisins over a gentle heat. Add the sugar, citrus peel, and cinnamon stick and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to the boil until the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and leave the raisins to cool in the saucepan.
- Tip the raisins and any residual liquid into a sterilised kilner jar, then pour over the Pedro Ximenez. Seal the jar and leave the raisins to steep for at least a week, or for up to a month, before using.
- Remove any racks from the Sous Vide, leaving the hole-punched metal tray at the bottom. Fill the machine with enough water so it comes up a couple of inches above the tray – though make sure the water will not come higher than the dariole pots once submerged.
- Heat the Sous Vide to 85°C.
- Grease 8 dariole moulds with melted butter and set aside.
- To make the caramel, put the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, and using a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals stuck to the sides of the pan.
- Stop stirring and increase the heat. Shake the pan occasionally and watch the syrup like a hawk until the caramel thickens and deepens in colour to a rich amber.
- Divide the caramel between the moulds, working quickly but carefully before it sets, and swirl each dariole pot so the caramel coats the bottom evenly. Set aside and leave to set.
- To make the custard, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla seeds in a large, heatproof jug. Put the cream in a saucepan over a low heat, until it just scalds – with little bubbles round the edge. Pour the cream over the egg mixture and whisk. Divide the custard between dariole pots and cover the top of each one with a piece of clingfilm, to prevent any condensation from dripping on their tops.
- Carefully place the crème caramels on the tray in the Sous Vide machine and leave to gently cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Once cooked, leave to cool before transferring them to the fridge to chill overnight.
- Once ready to serve, dunk the base of each pot in hot water to loosen the caramel, then slide round the sides with a knife. Upturn the custard pots into bowls and serve with the Pedro Ximenez raisins.