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Shared by Nathalie Ross

Crème Renversée au Caramel

Yield: 12 servingsTime: 1 ½ hours, plus overnight chilling

Shared by Nathalie Ross

Creme caramel with three slices and cake server atop white, lace tablecloth.
Photographer: Joseph De Leo. Food Stylist: Chaya Rappoport. Prop Stylist: Amanda Dell.

Crème Renversée au Caramel

Yield: 12 servingsTime: 1 ½ hours, plus overnight chilling

Family Journey

PortugalIzmir, TurkeyCairo
Alexandria, EgyptParisMontreal
Champaign-Urbana, ILDallas

“My mom was best known for her crème caramel,” says Nathalie Ross. Her parents loved entertaining, and her mother’s creme caramel was the centerpiece of every dinner party. Nathalie loved watching her mother unmold the dessert from its dish. When she got married, her mother gifted her with the same pan and serving plate she always used — along with the recipe. Note: the dessert needs to rest in the refrigerator overnight, so be sure to make this a day in advance. 

Read more of Nathalie Ross’s story in “In This Sephardi Family, Boyos Were a Testament of Love” and get her recipe for boyos with handrajo filling.


For the caramel:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 6 tablespoons water 

For the crème:

  • 4 large eggs 
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped out and pod reserved
  • 3 ¾ cups whole milk

Special Equipment:

  • 12-inch round baking dish


  • Step 1

    Make the caramel: Put the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Shake the pan to dissolve the sugar in the water. Then, let the caramel begin to bubble and caramelize, around 10 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Using the pot handle, swirl the caramel around occasionally, letting it come to a medium, amber-brown color. Remove from the heat and quickly pour into the 12” round dish, swirling to ensure that it completely coats the base of the dish. Put aside, letting the caramel set.

  • Step 3

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl, use a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a handheld whisk to beat vigorously until slightly thickened and pale in color. Set aside.

  • Step 4

    Add the milk, the scraped vanilla bean seeds and the spent pod to a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat. Gently begin to pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to temper the mixture and ensure the eggs don’t scramble. Let the mixture rest for 3-4 minutes, then skim off any foam on the top.

  • Step 5

    Pour the crème into the caramelized dish. Set the crème caramel in a larger pan of warm water (this is called a bain-marie) and gently place in the lower third of the preheated oven.

  • Step 6

    Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes, or until a knife plunged down through the center comes out clean, and the top of the custard is very slightly tanned. Remove crème caramel pan from the bain-marie and let cool on a wire rack. Chill overnight in the fridge.

  • Step 7

    To serve, loosen the edges with a knife. Place a serving plate upside down, on top of the serving dish and invert crème caramel onto the plate.