These salted caramel custard pots were inspired by the Picasso of pastry, Pierre Hermé and his classic caramel with fleur de sel macaroons.
This flavor became a rising trend and it's not uncommon to find desserts sprinkled with this salt now.
Fleur de sel (flower of salt) is a sea salt collected only off the coast of Brittany, France, scraping just the top layer before it sinks to the bottom of the salt pan.
I've used fleur de sel salt for these; it's probably not worth buying the salt especially for this, but if you want to start using it in recipes, it's definitely something worth thinking about.
Crème au Caramel Salé
(Makes 4 pots)
For the caramel:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- A pinch of fleur de sel (or any mild sea salt if you don't have this)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- More fleur de sel for sprinkling on top.
To make the caramel, on a medium heat add the sugar and salt to a saucepan. Add a few drops of water to the pan just to moisten a little.
Stirring constantly (don't let it burn) and allow the sugar to caramelize and bubble, it should thicken and become a rich amber color.
As soon as it has taken on that color, immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cream and the whole milk. This will cause it to bubble a lot, but keep stirring.
The caramel at this point will become quite hard and stringy, return the pan to the heat and mix until it becomes a smooth liquid.
Leave the caramel to cool down fully.
Preheat the oven to 300F.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 cup of sugar and vanilla extract very well until thickened.
Very slowly, add the caramel mixture to this bowl while whisking.
Allow to sit still for a minute and then skim off any foam that has developed on the surface
(they will show up in the finishing custards).
Fill the roasting pan half way up the ramekins with boiling water.
Cover the roasting pan with Aluminum foil (piercing a few holes in the foil for steam to release).
Place the pan carefully in the middle of the oven and bake the pots for 30-40 minutes. They should still be wobbly, but completely set and solid to the touch. (Check them after 30 minutes because mine were completely done then).
When they're done, take the roasting pan out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes with the foil still covering the pots.
Let the petite pots cool in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
When they are ready to be served, sprinkle a little fleur de sel on top of each pot.
These can be served with a little whipped cream on the side, but they're really good just as themselves.