Active Time
30 MIN
Total Time
1 HR 30 MIN
Serves : 4

Hidden at the bottom of each ramekin of this creamy custard from star chef Ludo Lefebvre is a caramelized sautéed shallot; it adds delicate sweetness to the dish. Slideshow: Vegetarian Appetizers

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 275°. Using a sharp paring knife, very thinly slice the shallots lengthwise, leaving the slices attached at the root ends. Using your palm, gently flatten the shallots, fanning out the slices.

Step 2    

In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallots and season with salt and white pepper. Sprinkle the sugar and a pinch of nutmeg on top and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until nicely browned and very soft, about 15 minutes; let cool slightly.

Step 3    

Fan out the shallots in the center of four 10-ounce ramekins. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the cream, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and pour into the ramekins. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and set in a glass or ceramic baking dish.

Step 4    

Pour enough hot water into the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Transfer the baking dish to the middle of the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the custards comes out clean, 40 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the custards stand in the water for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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