Step 1: Caramel
Pour the sugar and half a glass of water into a saucepan, just to moisten the sugar. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar is a deep caramel color. Add the orange juice. Pour the caramel into 10 cm (4 in) wide molds, carefully tilting them in every direction so the caramel covers the bottom and sides of the mold evenly. Refrigerate the molds for 30 minutes until the caramel hardens.
Step 2: Custard
Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, then add the seeds and the bean to the milk. Bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the boiling milk to this mixture, whisking all the while, then pass it through a chinois. Pour the resulting custard into the caramel-lined molds. Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F, oven setting 6). Place the molds in a baking dish filled with water. Bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes.
Step 3: Presentation
Once out of the oven, let the custards cool completely before removing them from the molds and turning them onto soup plates. To do this, place the base of the dish on top of the mold and flip it over quickly. Drizzle with the remaining caramel.
This recipe was originally published in "L'esprit bistrot" (Éditions Alain Ducasse)
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