Aren’t you bored?
It is a question I have heard a lot recently. And it’s a fair question, a good six weeks (or seven, starting to loose track) into Corona regulations and living alone. But I have to say, I am not bored. Are you?
It is actually an interesting topic though. I started reading more about the concept of boredom, and it seems like there is a lot to study about it. Surely, there is the negative connotation: “being bored to death”. It might lead to stress symptoms or decisions of drugs or alcohol abuse to fight the boredom. But at the same time, it can also give some creative sparks or help people start doing something productive. So although I cannot deny that I might be drinking more wine alone than usually, maybe it is also boredom that in a way has let me to start cycling more than I have ever done in my life. I just draw a circle on the map around my house and see where I can go, every weekend again. I guess it’s a way to replace the traveling I am used to doing during the weekends. It’s a great way of discovering new parts of the city, especially the nature, and staying out of the way of other people to practice the now-famous social distancing. And the truth is, it is the best time of year to do this. I feel like Berlin is one of the cities I know with the most blossoming trees. The city is covered in white, pink, and yellow. It looks magnificent and often smells amazing.
Now there are two things. Of course, cycling makes you hungry. And the sweet smell of the flowers and just being outside somehow makes me crave fruits. I think this is why I changed my basic recipe of crème caramel from the normal vanilla version to one that includes oranges and rosemary instead. Especially since my favourite type of oranges – blood oranges – were available in the supermarket again.
Orange and rosemary crème caramel
The crèmes are cooked “au bain marie”, in a water bath in the oven. So make sure to select a baking tray beforehand that fits your four ramekins and can be filled with water. I actually use a large stainless steel frying pan when I make four at a time, since I don’t have any other tray that can fit them all.
And, if the caramel has hardened in the pot you made it in and you have issues cleaning it, just fill it with water and put to a boil. This will make the caramel liquid again, so that it is easy to clean.
Ingredients (for 4 portions)
- 50 grams of sugar
- 3 or 4 (blood)oranges – for around 200 ml of orange juice
- 300 ml of full-fat milk
- 2 eggs
- Sprig of rosemary
- 1 tablespoon of honey
Start by zesting and juicing the oranges. Roughly chop the rosemary. Pour the milk together with the orange zest and the rosemary in a small pot over a low fire. When the milk has warmed up, switch off the heat and set the milk aside to infuse with the rosemary and orange flavours.
Heat the oven to 150°C and place the ramekins that you will be using in the oven to warm up. Now, heat up the orange juice over a medium to high fire and let it boil and reduce till you have around half the amount you originally had, approximately 100 ml. Pour through a strainer and set aside. After, heat the sugar with 4 tablespoons of water over a medium heat. The sugar will first start to get large bubbles, which will then turn into a caramel. Make sure not to touch the sugar at any point of time, because it becomes incredibly hot. When the caramel starts to get a beautiful copper colour, add the reduced orange juice and leave on the fire for another minute or two until it is a very thick syrup. Do not take your caramel too far and too dark, since it will become bitter. Quickly take the ramekins out of the oven and divide the orange caramel over them, carefully swirling the ramekins to make sure the whole bottom is covered with caramel.
As a next step, whisk the eggs with the honey until creamy. Pour the milk through a strainer, to remove the rosemary and orange zest, over the egg mixture. Whisk well until fully incorporated. Check that the caramel in the ramekins has hardened up, and pour the milk mixture on top. Place the ramekins in a baking tray or roasting tin, and pour boiling water in between so that they are standing till a bit over half of their height in the water. Carefully place the tray in the oven, and cook for around 30 minutes. The crème should still feel soft, but just hold its shape when you touch it.
Take the cremes out of the oven and let them cool down. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
When it is time to serve, use a knife to go around the edge of the ramekins, place a plate over the top, and turn the crème out on the plate. The orange caramel sauce should spread out over the crème and the plate. Enjoy!