Creme Caramel (Flan)

Creme Caramel Creme Caramel (or “Flan,” as it’s known in Spain) is really one of my favourite desserts, and it’s much easier to make than many people might think. The only difficulty for some would be making the caramel, which is easy to burn. However, I’m amazed it’s not prepared more often, for guests are always “wowed” by this treat!

The most usual flavouring would be a little vanilla, but I like the kick of fresh ginger, so that’s the recipe I will pass on here.

Ginger Créme Caramel (Flan) Recipe

Before you get started, gather up the following:

6 ramekins, a small heavy saucepan, a sieve, a heatproof bowl, and a baking dish large enough to hold the 6 ramekins.

Part 1 – The Caramel


150 ml sugar

1-2 tablespoon water

What to do:

  1. Pour the sugar in the saucepan, followed by the water.
  2. Cook over medium heat without stirring.
  3. Watch carefully. When it begins to brown, stir until the caramel is a deep amber colour, but not burned.
  4. It happens pretty fast, so take care. It is also very, very hot!
  5. RamekinsImmediately pour into ramekins, dividing it among the 6 before it hardens.

Part 2 – The Custard


500 ml milk 

1 tsp. fresh sliced ginger

1 vanilla bean or 1 ½ tsp vanilla sugar

2 eggs

4 egg yolks

100 ml sugar

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 170C.
  2. Pour the milk into the saucpan with the fresh ginger and cook over medium heat. When it is hot, reduce the heat and leave it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl.
  4. Pass the milk through a sieve to remove the ginger pieces.  
  5. Slowly pour the milk over the egg mixture, stirring all the time, but try not to agitate too much or it will be very foamy.
  6. Once the eggs and milk are fully incorporated, again pass it through the sieve to remove any hardened bits of egg.  
  7. Pour into ramekins.
  8. Place the ramekins in a baking dish, and fill the baking dish with enough hot water to reach 1 cm below the rims of the ramekins. (You are creating a hot water bath for the custard).
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes, until firm to the touch.
  10. Remove from the oven, and immediately go to the next step. (If you wait, the caramel will harden).
  11. Cut around the edgle of the custard with a knife to loosen it.
  12. Invert the ramekins on plates to deposit the custard, pouring out any excess caramel.
  13. Creme CaramelServe immediately.

Notes: 1. You can substitute 1 tsp vanilla for the ginger, if you don’t care for it…

2. You can pull the remaining caramel at the bottom of the ramekins into decorative sugar threads as I have done in the photo on the right.

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Irish Chocoholics

Chocolate bite A bit of good news for us vis a vis the previous post. The Examiner today claims that Ireland has the highest chocolate consumption in the world, at 11.2kg per person per year. Of course, I think I might eat that in a month… 

This seems to be a bit disputed with several sites including the Accidental Hedonist putting the Swiss on top and Ireland in 3rd. Perhaps the Examiner has more recent figures…

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Ice Cream Truffles

Ice Cream Truffles Even though it’s busy season, and most of our attention is going into keeping the shops in ice cream, we’ve been playing around with the idea of making ice cream truffles here in the world of ice cream.

I don’t know if it’s a silly idea, but it seems to me that it might be pretty interesting to have a gold box of ice cream truffles in the freezer cabinet of a specialty food shop. It could make an impression at a dinner party.

We’ve just started fooling around with it, but it’s a tasty treat. I would love to get any feedback. Would you buy such a thing?

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Taste of Dublin

 Taste of Dublin2 Yesterday my brother and I went to the Taste of Dublin at Dublin Castle. The idea was to be able to sample some of the dishes of Dublin’s best restaurants, including Roly’s BistroL’EcrivainChapter One, Diep le Shakar. In addition, there were food producers handing out samples or selling their wares, and cooking demonstrations by chefs.

Taste of DublinThe afternoon was sunny, and a huge crowd turned up. The wine flowed, the music pumped, and the various restaurants churned out small portions of their dishes on paper plates.

We met some friends there and had a good time, although it was a bit disappointing to see many big corporations such as the ubiquitous Starbucks along side the small Irish producers.

Today, on a damp, cold morning, we visited a few of our customers in the city and then headed home. As I crossed the border into Kerry, the weather improved, and it struck me as always just how lucky I am to be living in such a beautful place. I headed out the Dingle peninsula toward the sun listening to John Kelly’s Mystery Train and very happy to be out of the city and back home.

Kerry Beach

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Harleys in Killarney

Harley Guy2 Killarney is the midst of the 15th Annual HOG (Harley-Davidson Owner’s Group) Rally, and anyone interested in such things and immune to the roaring of motorcycle engines should rush over.

Many Harleys

10-15,000 bikes and riders from all over the world have converged on the town, and it’s quite a sight. Killarney is positively heaving with Harley-Davidsons.

For anyone who feels like they need the ultimate accessory to join in with the festivities, they could pay a quick visit to the Irish dealer on the way down, but would have to be willing to part with some serious cash.

Contrary to stereotypes, the bikers we met in Killarney were quite lovely, and the town had a nice mood, even though the noise was something ferocious.

Murphys Harley

A great number of them turned up in Dingle as well, and they even found some time to eat some ice cream!

Harley Guy3

Harley Guy 4

Harley couple

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Baileys Brownies

Stack of Brownies Our baker Wiebke is 7 months pregnant, and so I’ve been doing more baking than usual. I can’t manage her fantastic cakes, but I can turn out tarts, pies and cookies and brownies without too much trouble.

Brownie with Ice Cream

Yesterday I decided to try a variation on our Chocolate brownie recipe by adding Baileys Irish Cream. I like the combination of chocolate and Baileys, and we have a regular ice cream flavour Bó Dhubh, which is just that.

In any case, the result was very yummy, and if you want to try it, simply use the recipe I gave here and add 100ml Baileys after mixing in the flour.

Brownies are great with ice cream, and I would serve it with a scoop of vanilla or Baileys ice cream and chocolate sauce

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Tall Ship in Dingle

Passion Yesterday, the Spirasi Tall Ship Challenge Against Torture arrived in Dingle. Along with the boat was the group Passion, made up of Pat Collins (The Café Orchestra), guitarist Drazen Djerek (The Chieftans) and singer Tony Norton (The Three Irish Tenors and Druid). They performed in the Marina Bar rather than the pier because of worries about the weather, and it was something to hear O Sole Mio blasting out of a place more used to trad music.

For anyone interested in supporting them, the ship calls to Cobh, Waterford, Wicklow, and will be back in Dublin on Monday for the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

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Irish Chocolate – Cocoa Bean

Cocoa bean In terms of artisian food, Ireland has long been known for cheeses, but until quite recently, there was little in terms of artisian Irish chocolates. Obviously some chocolate companies have been around for a long time, but chocolate in Ireland has until fairly recently been defined by Cadburys. Needless to say, that was not much solace for chocolate lovers, but happily things are rapidly changing for the better.

One of the companies to look out for, if you don’t know them already is Cocoa bean. Based in Limerick and around since 2002, this company does bold chocolates in interesting packaging.

Their flavours are strong, and they do a variety of unusual combinations.

Their chocolate crunch and fruit and nut clusters are definitely addictive.

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