Hazelnut Crème Caramel

A new flavor for a classic dessert. To skin hazelnuts rub them in a clean towel while they are still warm from being toasted.

Ingredients

Custard

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • cups milk
  • 7 ounces hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped

Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • cup plus 3 tablespoons water

Eight 6-ounce ovenproof ramekins

Method

To make the custard base

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Put the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, and salt in a stainless steel bowl and whisk them together until smooth. Set aside.

Pour the cream and milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepot. Add the hazelnuts and scald the mixture. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the hazelnuts steep in the milk for 15 minutes. Bring the hazelnut milk to a boil and slowly whisk it into the egg mixture. Cool the custard base to room temperature and strain.

To make the caramel

While the custard base is cooling, place the sugar and cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepot. Over low heat, stir them together. When the sugar is dissolved, increase to high heat. Cook the sugar until it is a golden amber color. Remove the caramel from the heat and very carefully and slowly add the 3 tablespoons water. Pour the caramel into the bottoms of the ramekins. Set the ramekins aside to cool.

Pour the hazelnut custard base into the caramel-lined ramekins.

Put the ramekins in an ovenproof pan and put it in the oven. Fill the pan one-third to one-half full of hot water. (It is easier to fill the pan with water when it is already in the oven.) Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 50 minutes. When the custards are gently shaken, they will be set around the edges yet have an area in the middle, about the size of a quarter, that will not be completely firm.

Refrigerate the custards, several hours to overnight.

To serve, carefully run a small knife around the inside edge of each ramekin and unmold onto a plate.

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