Vegetarian food writer and pastry chef Peta Leith shares a sweet treat that not only tastes delicious, but could help relieve stress. Read on to discover how to make the perfect orange crème caramel, served with tempting roasted rhubarb, in this easy-to-follow recipe…

Words & Images: Peta Leith

This orange crème caramel recipe is a bit naughty, but I do think it’s important to have balance and treat yourself now and then. Rhubarb is in season now, and this is one of my favourite ways to eat it. Rhubarb is especially fitting for Stress Awareness Month (April), as it contains an antioxidant called gallic acid, which has been shown to help ease stress and support brain health. Pair that with the fact that eating something sweet releases mood-enhancing serotonin and it’s a win-win…

Orange crème caramel recipe – served with roasted rhubarb

Serves 4 (you will need 4 dariole moulds)


For the caramel:

  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 10g liquid glucose
  • 30ml orange juice

For the custard:

  • 300ml whole milk
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the roasted rhubarb:

  • 400g rhubarb, cut into bite-size batons
  • 20g granulated sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange

How to make crème caramel:

  1. Heat the oven to 120°C with no fan – if you’re unable to switch the fan off, reduce the heat to 100°C and watch it carefully as it may not take so long to cook.
  2. Grease the moulds with veg oil.
  3. Combine the sugar and glucose in a small saucepan with enough water to just wet it. Put it over a medium heat and do not stir. Once it starts to caramelise, tip the pan to swirl the contents gently, and cook until golden brown. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the orange juice – watch out as it will spit. Stir, then pour it into the base of your moulds. Leave to cool.
  4. Heat the milk and orange zest until it just boils, then remove it from the heat. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together, then pour the hot milk over it and whisk. Pour through a fine sieve into a jug. Divide the mixture between the moulds. Cook in the oven for 40-60 mins: check often from 40 mins, and remove it once just set but still a touch wobbly in the centres. Cool completely before serving.
  5. Turn the oven up to 180°C. Mix the rhubarb with the sugar, orange juice and zest in a dish, then roast for 10-12 mins – it should feel quite firm when you take it out of the oven, but the residual heat will cook it the rest of the way. Let it cool.
  6. To serve, turn the crème caramels out onto dishes, and spoon the rhubarb over the top. Enjoy!

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