Crème caramel with hazelnut brittle

A classic dessert from Tamasin Day-Lewis - smooth, creamy, vanilla-scented caramel custard topped with irresistibly crunchy hazelnut brittle
By Tamasin Day-Lewis
Crème caramel with hazelnut brittle
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus cooling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

Main

  • 2 whole eggs, plus 2 yolks
  • 2 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 600 ml milk

For the caramel and the hazelnut brittle:

  • 175 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 100 g skinned hazelnuts, chopped

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

2. To make the caramel, gently melt half the caster sugar in a saucepan until it is liquid and changes colour to a burnished mahogany. Just as it starts to bubble, throw on the cold water.

3. Quickly pour the mixture into the base of a 1-litre soufflé dish. Roll the dish to spread the caramel slightly up the sides, until it sets.

4. Break the eggs into a bowl and add the two extra yolks and the 2 tablespoons of sugar.

5. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, using the tip of a small knife, and add to the eggs. Whisk thoroughly until smooth.

6. Scald the milk in the pan used for the caramel. Whisk it into the egg mixture, then pour into the soufflé dish.

7. Place the dish in a roasting pan. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes until tremblingly set (it will go on cooking after it comes out of the oven).

8. Stand on a rack and leave to cool completely.

9. To make the hazelnut brittle, heat the remaining caster sugar in a saucepan. Bring it to the same point as the caramel. Throw in the chopped hazelnuts, stir briefly then pour onto a non-stick baking tray. Leave to cool and set

10. When ready to serve, slip a palate knife round the edge of the soufflé dish and invert the crème caramel onto a large plate, preferably one with an upturned rim to catch the liquid.

11. Bash up the brittle a bit with a rolling pin and serve with the crème caramel.

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