11:00 PM on Black Saturday. I’m on the phone with a friend. I am running a fairly high fever. My throat hurts. I’m starting to cough. But I can’t sleep…well, not just yet anyway.
“You don’t sound too good,” my friend tells me, a note of worry creeping into his voice. “We can talk about this on Monday. Go to bed.”
“I can’t,” I reply. “Well, not yet.”
“I’ve got something cooking in the kitchen…” I cough and ruefully add that I am in the kitchen as we speak. “It’s already in the oven and I can’t leave it till it’s done.”
“Wait…what? What are you baking this time?!“
A bit of a back-story here: this is the friend who performs every Monday at a cosy little bar in Makati. This is the friend for whom I baked a loaf of bread for a Christmas present; the same friend whom I usually end up baking Madeleines for. Also the friend for whom I made a truly evil batch of homemade peanut butter cups (recipe for which may never be disclosed via this blog because the decadent little bastards truly were wicked and delicious) for Beatles Night at the Boiler Room. (Long story…) We annoy each other from time to time, but we stay friends anyway.
And so, to continue here, I reminded him that I promised two other friends of ours that I would make leche flan – aka creme caramel – for Easter. Only, this one would have a grown-up twist as it would have whiskey blended into the custard. The original plan was to use an American whiskey: proper Bourbon, say Southern Comfort or Jack Daniels. As luck would have it, there was no Bourbon to be had for love or money in any of my usual haunts before Holy Week. (A divine sign, perhaps? Oh, dear…) So, what’s a determined home-cook to do?
Why, use scotch, of course! Besides, I’m a bigger fan of the malty, peat-smoke taste of Scots whiskies than I am of what the Yanks produce. (A difference in taste between me and the friend, one on which we agree to disagree.)
The end result of staying up so late: a creme caramel that was both rich, boozy, and totally decadent. However. it isn’t exactly something I’d do on a regular basis. (Do you know how maddening it is to set up a bloody water bath / bain marie? Or how nerve-wracking it is to check on the caramel?!?)
Nevertheless, it was pretty good: the malty character of the whiskey went beautifully with the egginess of the custard. Plus, the fact that I threw in proper vanilla from a pod added another dimension of flavour to the dessert.
Try it for yourself and let me know in the comments how yours went. 🙂
Scotch Creme Caramel
1-1/3 cups granulated white sugar2/3 cup water1-1/2 cups milk370mL all-purpose cream1/3 cup Scotch4 eggs, plus 8 egg yolks, extraadditional 2/3 cup granulated white sugar1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and pod reserved