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Spanish caramel custards

Always use a heavy-based saucepan for making caramel as it will give an even spread of heat and help prevent burning.
Do not take your eyes off the caramel once it begins to turn brown as it burns very easily.

ingredients

serves 6
1 orange
600 ml (1 pint) milk
4 eggs
75 g (3 oz) caster sugar

caramel

6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons water

method

1. Heat the oven to l50°C/300°F/Gas2.

2. Wash and dry the orange, then pare off the rind with a potato peeler.

3. Place the orange rind and milk in a saucepan and allow to infuse over low heat. This means bringing the milk to the boil slowly and allowing it to stand for 10 minutes.

4. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl and strain over the milk. Beat lightly to mix.

5. Half fill a roasting tin with warm water and place in the oven.

6. To make the caramel: put the sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved, then boil steadily without stirring until the sugar turns a pale golden brown.

7. Pour caramel into individual souffle dishes or a 15 cm/6 inch diameter souffle dish. Leave for about 2 minutes to set.

8. Remove roasting tin from the oven.

9. Strain the egg and milk mixture on to the caramel in the moulds and place in the roasting tin. Replace in the oven and cook until the custard is set - about 40 minutes to an hour.

10. Cool for at least 3 hours, then chill in the refrigerator.

11. Remove the pith from the orange with a sharp knife and divide the flesh into segments.

12. Turn the custards on to a plate and arrange the orange segments on top or around the plate.

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