Meyer Lemon Vanilla Bean Creme Caramel

by formerchef on July 19, 2011

Post image for Meyer Lemon Vanilla Bean Creme Caramel

What, another lemon dessert?

Shhhh…yes, another one, and don’t give me any flack about it. I love my little ancient lemon tree and it loves me back. It’s my own personal “Giving Tree” providing me with luscious, sweet, Meyer lemons almost year round. Of the 22 desserts in my “Dessert” category, 6 are made with Meyer lemons, but only 9 of the 150+ recipes on the blog are tagged with “lemon.” And what’s not to love about lemons? The flavor is bright, fresh and clean so how can you go wrong incorporating it where ever possible? In summer we drink lemonade, so why not make a light lemon dessert?

This is the perfect do-ahead dinner party dessert. You can make them up to the day before and then just invert them onto plates (or eat them right out of the ramekins!) right before serving.

Lemon Creme Caramel Recipe

For the Creme
4 tsp Meyer lemon juice
3 tsp Meyer lemon zest
1 ea vanilla bean
8 large eggs
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

For the Caramel
1.5 cups sugar
5 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large baking or roasting pan place 11 ea. 6 oz ramekins.

Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise to open it up. Put it in a small pot with 2 cups of the milk. Heat the milk to just below a simmer and then turn it off. The goal is to infuse the milk with the vanilla and soften the bean. Allow to cool to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.

To make the caramel, cook the sugar, water and lemon juice (part 2 of the ingredients list) in a small, heavy bottomed pot until the sugar melts and begins to turn a golden brown (about 5 minutes). Quickly remove from the heat and pour enough of the hot sugar (be careful!) into each ramekin to coat the bottom by about 1/8″. As it cools, the sugar will harden.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, remaining 2 cups of milk and the sugar and salt together. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Remove the vanilla beans from the warm milk, and carefully scrape out the (now softened) beans from the inside of the pod. Whisk this into the egg mixture and then add in the rest of the milk. Pour equal amounts into the ramekins.

Water bath: Add warm water to the pan with the ramekins, filling it to at least 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until the creme caramel is firm and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove the ramekins from the water and cool on a rack. To serve, loosen the edges with a knife and invert onto a plate. Garnish with candied lemon peel.

Candied Lemon Peel:
2/3 cup water
2 cups sugar
peel, in strips (using a zester) from 3 lemons

Bring sugar and water to a low simmer in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the peel. Cook for about 30 minutes. Remove the peel from the syrup and drain on a wire rack. When cool, toss in sugar to coat and allow to dry.
Note; the syrup leftover from the cooking the peel makes excellent lemonade when combined with lemon juice and water.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Priyanka July 19, 2011 at 6:35 am

Wow…….that looks so tempting…Loved it

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2 formerchef July 19, 2011 at 6:36 am

Thank you!

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3 Myra July 19, 2011 at 9:11 am

It would be shame for you to have a productive lemon tree and not share your recipes with us. Keep the lemon recipes coming!

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4 formerchef July 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thanks Myra. I agree and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who loves lemon desserts. Use what you have, right?

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5 Lcuy July 19, 2011 at 10:41 am

This looks wonderful. Can’t wait to try it!
I’m so sad though…I have two myer lemon trees. The really productive one was in a bit pot, and it died suddenly in May. The survivor only gives two or three lemons per crop. :-(

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6 formerchef July 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Lcuy- I have a little meyer lemon tree in a pot on my patio and it has NEVER given me a lemon! It puts out flowers but the lemons never grow. I think I need to transplant it into the ground or a bigger pot.

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7 angela@spinachtiger July 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I never tire of lemon desserts. I wish I could say I had a lemon tree. I might have 100 desserts on my blog. This is beautiful start to finish.

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8 formerchef July 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Angela, normally I would recommend you try and grow a lemon tree in a pot, but as I said in the comment above, I haven’t had much luck with that! OTOH, a lot of people do so it might be worth a try!

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9 Jenn @LeftoverQueen July 21, 2011 at 9:37 am

I don’t think I have ever had lemon creme caramel! It sounds like absolute heaven and looks so delectable!

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10 Shelby August 1, 2011 at 4:52 am

I am making this tonight! I can’t get enough of lemons desserts either right now!

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11 John Conrad August 12, 2011 at 12:35 am

This will be my weekly treat! I usually eat very healthy during the week, but once the weekend strikes – I need something to treat myself with. I’m pretty sure that this dish will do the trick! Thanks for the brilliant, easy-to-use recipe! Can’t wait! (Mouth watering!)

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12 katie November 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

You are my hero!

Love this. Love the cran-nilla syrup. Love YOU!

Don’t suppose you’d wanna send me a start off your lemon tree..? Hehee

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13 Jennifer February 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Is there a typo in the recipe? For the creme, it says to use 1 cup sugar. As you scroll through the recipe, it says to add “remaining 2 cups of sugar and salt together” to the eggs. Is it 1 cup or 2 cups?

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14 formerchef February 16, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Yes, it’s a typo. Thanks for letting me know. I’ve corrected it. It should have read “In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, remaining 2 cups of milk and the sugar and salt together”.

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