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Crème Caramel – Always Classy, Always Easy

Creme caramel belongs on the short list for World’s Greatest Dessert.* This time-honored custard is well known in France, Italy, and of course Spain where it’s called flan, as it’s referred to in Mexico as well. How is my creme caramel different than others? The custard (creme) is laced with Angostura bitters to add a deep flavor nuance. Ever wonder why bitters is so popular in cocktails such as Manhattans? Same reason: it adds flavor depth. Bitters is widely used in cooking throughout the Caribbean, South America and Australia — to name a few. And as you know, I’m hooked on bitters in food, like Rosie’s and my favorite Thanksgiving pumpkin pie that uses orange bitters. So… give this creme caramel a try.

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Crème Caramel

Makes 6 servings  Prep time 15 minutes  Oven Time 40 minutes   

Caramelized Sugar
1/2     cup sugar
2        Tbsp. water
6        6 oz. ramekins

4        large eggs
2        cups whole milk or half & half
1/2     cup sugar
2        tsp. Angostura aromatic bitters or 1/2 tsp. Angostura orange bitters
1        tsp. vanilla extract
          Dash salt

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place ramekins in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan; stir. Boil gently over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until sugar starts to turn golden. Remove from heat and divide among ramekins, titling to coat bottoms of each as you pour. Note that sugar will continue to caramelize after removing pan from heat. Meanwhile, boil a quart or two of water for the 9 x 13 pan.

For crème, whisk eggs in a medium bowl or 4-cup measuring cup. Add remaining ingredients; stir to dissolve sugar. Divide among the ramekins. Pour the hot water into pan halfway up the ramekins. Bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand in the hot water 10 minutes. Remove ramekins from water and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or for several days. Serve in ramekins or invert onto plates. To invert, run a thin knife or rubber spatula around the inside edges of ramekins. Place serving plate on top and quickly turn over. If crème caramel does not drop out, wiggle ramekin a bit.

per serving with whole milk: 235 calories, 5.8 g fat (2.6 g sat fat), 132.1 mg cholesterol, 6.8 g protein, 38.2 g carbohydrate, 108.6 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
per serving with half & half: 290 calories, 12.4 g fat (6.8 g sat fat), 154 mg cholesterol, 6.6 g protein, 37.8 g carbohydrate, 106.6 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

* says Chef John on AllRecipes.com

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  1. Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Rita — now I have to choose between pumpkin pie with bitters and creme caramel with bitters — BOTH are my favorites!

    • Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      They are both so easy that you should make both!

      • Posted October 16, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        I will! I shared the Creme Caramel with friends and want more for me now!

  2. Linda Sweeney
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    This looks delicious and I plan to try it. Just wondering why such a difference between regular bitters (2 tsp) and orange bitters (1/2 tsp). I have both and really enjoy the Orange bitters in a Manhattan!

    • Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Orange bitters has a lighter flavor with an orange-y flavor tone. The ingredients are quite different.

  3. Posted October 16, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    YOU are always classy. 🙂

    Another thing I think is so great about creme caramel is that it’s so easy to make. I also like its gelatin-y cousin, panna cotta.

  4. Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    This is definitely one of my all-time favorite desserts, and love your twist on it with the bitters!!! I need to try that next time I make this!