You can not go to a Portuguese lunch/dinner/party/christening/wedding without seeing a créme caramel. Everybody believes that their Vóvó makes the best version and they would be absolutely right! I’ve never tasted a créme caramel I didn’t like (the real thing, not that ‘flambe’ nonsense)  In my book, this is the ultimate Portuguese dessert. Sublime in its simplicity, you will be completely won over by the rich density of this perfect confection. As a service I think I should warm you…there are A LOT of egg yolks in this recipe! The egg whites can be frozen, ready for those meringues or egg white omelettes all the healthy people are eating now days.



  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 2 x 380g tinned Ideal Milk
  • 1 vanilla pod ( split)
  • 2 strips lemon rind (use a vegetable peeler to peel as thin a slice as possible, pick of any pith with a sharp knife)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 12 egg yolks , at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 200°c

  1. Start with the caramel. Place the sugar & water in a saucepan over a med-high heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve and colour. 2 things: 1) Don’t stir the caramel, tilt the pan or use a wet pastry brush to moisten the sides of the saucepan 2) Do not let the caramel burn! It happens very quickly. As soon as the sugar has dissolved and the caramel is a wonderful golden , amber colour, take it off the heat
  2. Pour the caramel into a 23cm round/rectangular oven proof dish ( If you’re Portuguese you probably have the metal créme caramel tin with the clip on lid) and swirl the dish to distribute the caramel evenly
  3. To make the custard, place the ideal milk, vanilla, sugar and lemon rind in a saucepan. Stir continuously over a medium high heat until just before boiling point. Remove & set aside
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale and creamy. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the yolks in a thin, steady stream, beating continuously
  5. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug
  6. Place the tin/dishe into a roasting pan & fill the tin/dish with the créme mixture. Pour boiling water into the pan until half way up the tin/dish
  7. Bake for 45 minutes then reduce the temperature to 120 °c . Bake for a further 15 minutes
  8. Turn off the oven and allow the créme caramel to sit for 30 minutes
  9. Remove, allow to cool then refrigerate
  10. Flip the tin/dish carefully over onto a pretty serving dish when ready to serve