About this recipe:Most traditional recipes for crème caramel are made with a sugar-based caramel and a rich creamy custard. The fruity version here uses apple juice both for the caramel and in the custard, thus reducing the fat and sugar content and making it dairy free. Served with blackberries, or another seasonal fruit, this is a delicious treat for family or friends.
750 ml (1¼ pints) clear apple juice
pinch of ground cinnamon
3 egg yolks
55 g (2 oz) sugar
600 ml (1 pint) clear apple juice
300 g (10½ oz) blackberries
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To make the caramel, put the apple juice in a large, heavy, non-reactive saucepan with the cinnamon. Bring to the boil, then cook over a high heat for about 20 minutes or until reduced by about half. Lower the heat to moderate and continue boiling down for a further 10 minutes or until thickened to a bubbling darkish syrup. Take care, as it burns very easily at this stage.
Remove from the heat and pour into 6 ramekins (150 ml/5 fl oz capacity). Swirl the apple caramel round the sides if you can, or use a spoon and spread it around a bit. It will not swirl round as easily as ordinary caramel would, so do not worry.
For the custard, beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar until smooth. Heat the apple juice in a saucepan until it comes to the boil, then slowly stir it into the egg mixture, mixing well. Pour the custard into the 6 caramel-lined ramekins.
Set the ramekins in a roasting tin. Pour hot water into the tin to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the custard has just set. Remove the ramekins from the tin. Leave to cool, then chill for at least 2 hours.
To serve, loosen each custard with a knife run round the edge, then turn out onto a plate where it will be surrounded by its own pool of apple caramel sauce. Serve with the fresh blackberries.
For Spanish orange custards (Flans de naranjas), which are a beautiful orange colour, omit the caramel and use 750 ml (1¼ pints) of orange juice instead of apple juice in the custard. Heat the orange juice with the zest of 1 orange, taken with a citrus zester or grated, and slowly beat into the egg and sugar mixture. Pour into 6 moulds and bake as above. Serve the orange custard with fresh orange slices – a mixture of ordinary and blood oranges would be stunning. The raw oranges are packed with vitamin C.
Apple juice provides good amounts of potassium, which is so important in getting the balance with sodium right for healthy blood pressure and a healthy heart. * Blackberries are unusual among fruits in that they are a very rich source of vitamin E. Their vitamin C content is high too.