Orange and Chocolate Crème Caramel

IMG_9300.jpg

Chocolate and orange are both excellent flavour power-houses on their own and even better when put together. This crème caramel  has the richness of chocolate and the freshness from seasonal winter oranges to make a delightful treat. A dark just-set custard, fragranced with soft undertones of cardamom and cinnamon, served in a pool of bitter caramel. 

 

Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

For the caramel:

  1. 65 g sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon cold water
  3. ⅔ tablespoon hot water

For the chocolate custard:

  1. 1½ cups whole milk
  2. 1½ tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean, split
  4. 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  6. 1 teaspoon orange extract
  7. 1 teaspoon orange zest
  8. 1 cinnamon stick
  9. 60 g dark chocolate
  10. 2 egg yolks

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Coat the insides of 4 ramekins with cooking oil.
  2. To make the caramel, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar and cold water over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, swirl the pan occasionally until the caramel has reached a dark golden colour.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Pour the caramel equally into the 4 ramekins. Do this quickly as the caramel will start to set. In case the caramel has hardened, heat it again for a few seconds until it reaches a pouring consistency. Set the ramekins aside.
  5. In a larger saucepan, add the milk, vanilla bean + seeds, cardamom pods, and the cinnamon stick. Let the milk come to a light boil and remove from the heat.
  6. Add in the chopped chocolate and orange extract and whisk together.
  7. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavours develop. Once cool, add in the ginger and orange zest and leave for another 15 minutes.
  8. Once cool, sieve the mixture.
  9. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate milk and mix until combined. If there is any foam on top, use a spoon to skim it.
  10. In a deep baking tray, place the ramekins and then pour in the chocolate mixture into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the baking tray. Cooking these in a bath ensures even cooking.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes. A good way of testing if they are done is to giggle the ramekins. The centre should be almost set, not fully.
  12. Let the ramekins cool completely and then set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  13. To un-mould, dip the ramekins in hot water for a few seconds. Then run a knife along the edge of the custard and flip onto a plate.

 

Orange and Lavender Upside Down Cake

IMG_5530-2.jpg

This is my favourite kind of cake. The simple, sticky and jammy kind, with caramelised golden oranges. As the oranges bake in a bitter pool of caramel, they produce the best toffee-like edges. The cake itself has the dreamiest texture, and is more than just a canvas for the caramelised oranges, as the beautiful scent of lavender wafts into the air as you cut into it.

IMG_5527-2.jpg

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons dried lavender
  4. 100 g olive oil
  5. 50 g Greek yogurt
  6. 2 oranges
  7. zest of 1 orange
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 140 g sugar
  10. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. 120 g flour
  12. 1 tsp baking powder
  13. ¼ teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Generously grease  a sheet cake pan with butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top.
  3. Thinly slice the oranges, remove any seeds, and place them in a single layer at the bottom of the cake pan. You can remove the pith, if you don’t like the bitter taste. Set  the pan aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and Greek yogurt.
  5. Add the dried lavender to the sugar and rub together with your hands until the sugar smells of lavender.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, lavender sugar and vanilla extract and orange zest until the mixture is light and almost double in volume.
  7. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Gently fold in the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add the oil and yogurt to the batter and stir until smooth.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Cool the cake for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a plate to cool completely.