- 215g caster sugar
- ½ vanilla pod
- 650ml whole milk
- 5 eggs (3 whole eggs, 2 yolks)
For the apple compote
- 25g caster sugar
- 1½ Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm dice
- 100g raisins, soaked in hot water
- ½ level tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp rum
- 20g unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. To make the caramel, place 140g of the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a medium-sized frying pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 4–5 minutes over a high heat without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and turned a caramel colour. Be careful not to let it burn.
- Divide the molten caramel between 4 x 150ml ramekins, carefully pouring it in and tilting the ramekins to coat the bottoms.
- Split the vanilla pod down the centre and remove the seeds using a knife. Place the seeds and the pod in a medium-sized saucepan with the milk and warm through over a low heat – do not let the milk boil.
- Place the whole eggs, the egg yolks and the remaining 75g of sugar in a large bowl and gently whisk until smooth – try not to let too many bubbles form in the mixture. Pour a little of the warmed milk into the bowl and whisk gently again. Then add all the milk to the bowl with the eggs – gradually, so as not to scramble the eggs – and whisk once more.
- Strain the egg and milk mixture through a sieve, to remove the vanilla pod pieces, and pour into the 4 ramekins, on top of the caramel bases.
- Place the ramekins in a deep roasting tin and pour boiling water into the roasting tin to two thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins (this is a bain-marie). Put the roasting tin in the preheated oven and cook for 15–20 minutes, until the custards have just set.
- Remove from the oven and take the ramekins out of the roasting tin. Allow them to cool and then place them in the fridge for 30–40 minutes.
- To make the apple compote, place the sugar in a medium-sized frying pan over a medium to high heat until a light golden colour appears and then add the diced apple and the cinnamon. Cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the apple has softened, then add the rum and finish by adding the butter. Cook for a minute more and then take off the heat. Using serving plates with a shallow dip to catch the caramel, turn each crème caramel upside down onto the plate so the caramel will be on the top and take off the ramekin. If you’re struggling to free the caramel, gently press the top of the caramel to loosen it away from the sides of the ramekin. Place a spoonful of the compote on each plate next to the crème caramel.