Peach Crème Caramel, Amama and Summer Memories

One thing I didn’t tell you about in my last post is how my trip to Boston also had a bittersweet note to it. The afternoon before I left, my grandmother, my amama Miren passed away in her sleep. It was not a sudden event and in a way, we were expecting it, but having to leave so quickly and being so far away from the rest of my family really didn’t allow for me to mourn her passing until I came back home.

As I am writing this, there is some sadness left in me, but mostly, I am simply thankful for having the opportunity to have known her as I did. She was a quiet, hard working woman who endured difficult times in her life, but somehow managed to always have a positive outlook and a smile to share.

As I was thinking about her this morning, many memories of my childhood with her crossed my mind. Endless hours watching her cook and bake at the pastry shop. Simmering milk, kneading brioche late in the evening when everyone else had already left for the day, peeling apples or just simply blowing our noses.

But there is one summer that I remember clearly when we took a day trip to the small town of Sartaguda to visit my uncle who had rented a summer house by a peach orchard. I must have been about 6 or 7 years old. I remember the car ride there and resting my head on her abdomen and how much I liked doing that. She held my hand while we walked and spoke about her garden when she was growing up. I remember how she picked the peaches right off the tree and cracked them open with her hands to feed them to me.

She was a fantastic cook and baker, but if I had to pick a dessert that described her essence, this would be it. Custard, caramel and summer fruit, her favorites. And so this is for her, for my amama Miren who taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined.

Caramel

250 grams sugar
60 grams water

Have an ice bath ready.

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook until a medium amber caramel forms. Immediately shock the pan in ice water to stop the cooking process.

Pour the caramel amongst six jars. Let the caramel cool and harden before proceeding.

Peach Custard

Note: If peaches are very ripe and juicy, they should be slightly cooked first to eliminate some of the extra water, otherwise the custard might turn too watery.

500 ml heavy cream
500 ml whole milk
200 grams sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3 eggs
5 egg yolks
3-4 peaches, peeled and diced into small pieces

Place the heavy cream, milk, half of the sugar and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and rest of the sugar. Temper the hot milk mixture into the eggs while whisking. Strain the custard through a fine sieve and let it cool in an ice bath slightly. I like to leave the custard in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so all the foam rises to the top and then it is easy to skim off.

Divide the diced peaches amongst the jars and pour the custard over them. The fruit will rise to the top and that is ok.

Place the jars in a water bath and bake at 300F for about 30-40 minutes or until the center is set. Let them cool completely before serving.

Agur amama. Nire bihotz-bihotzetik.


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90 Responses to “Peach Crème Caramel, Amama and Summer Memories”

  1. My heart goes out to you Aran, it’s so hard to loose a loved on and even more so when you’re far away!

    Your Amama sounds like an inspirational woman!!

  2. Tartelette says:

    I know she is watching over you and hugging you when you least expect it.

  3. Marta says:

    Siento mucho la perdida de tu Amama Aran, pero me alegro que la pudiste disfrutar, conocer y aprender de ella. Tambien es una bendicion que se haya ido sin dolor y en paz. La mejor manera de continuar su legacia es aplicar sus ensenanzas culinarias, asi nunca sera olvidada.
    Un fuerte abrazo,

    PS: en realidad vine a decirte que ayer hice tu creme brulee y me quedo maravillosa! Es la primera vez que hacia una creme brulee y pense que no podia confiar en mas nadie, sino en ti, para mi primera receta! Muchas gracias :)

  4. I m sorry for your loss. These peach creme look fantastic!

  5. cindy* says:

    oh aran…what a beautiful story to share. i am sure you have a very special place o your heart marked just for her. it is so wonderful that you have this special summer memory…and thankyou, thank you for sharing.

  6. I’m sorry for your loss. All my condolences. My grandfather also passed away in April…

    A delightful summer dessert!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  7. Blue says:

    My condolences on your loss.

  8. yula says:

    My heart goes out to you Aran.
    Your amama seems so much like my grandmother, who raised me and lived with us from the day I was born to the day she passed away at the age of 86.
    Until this day I have a vivid memory of her fingers working the dough, making noodles or yeast chocolate cakes, and so many memories of wonderful food, and childhood. What I came to say is that as time passes you will have an increased sense of her presence in your life, as she watches over you and your family, to make sure no harm will come to you.
    Keep her memory and pass it on to your loved ones.

  9. Peter G says:

    Sorry to hear about the loss of a loved one and thanks for sharing this wonderful dessert with us.

  10. ibb says:

    Benetan sentitzen diat Aran. Posten naiz barruan gordetako historiek irribarre egiten laguntzea.
    Beti mantendu gogoan.

    Bihotzez,

    Ibb

  11. Sorry to hear about your loss. This is such a sweet post dedicated to her.

  12. Cheri says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. What a beautiful dessert for a beautiful grandmother.

  13. Anne says:

    What an intense month this has been for you! I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I hope you have some days ahead of rejuvination and family time if you need it.

    Anne
    (A devoted reader/ex-lurker)

  14. I’m so sorry, Aran. She sounds like a lovely woman. Praying for you and your family. :)

  15. Dominique says:

    Sorry for you Aran! Sweet summer dessert… It’s the beginning of peaches season here!

  16. Jennifer says:

    Aran my heart is with you and your family.

    lovely recipe and photography as always!

  17. What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. The photographs are breathtaking and the dessert looks nothing short of sublime.

  18. your Amama and your family will be included in our prayers.Our Condolences.

    This is a great presentation of a creme caramel,by the way..

  19. K.Line says:

    What a beautiful dessert and a beautiful tribute. I want to make this (it contains all of my favourite tastes too) and I will certainly think of you and your grandmother when I do…

  20. this post was really touching, full of rich love and a dessert to sweeten it. prayers for you & your family.

  21. Aran says:

    Thank you very much everyone for all your words. They are greatly appreciated.

  22. Bridget says:

    Lovely, lovely post!

  23. Aran, what a beautiful post. I can relate. Thinking of you.

  24. My condolences to you and your family Aran.

    What a beautiful way to honor your grandmum with this post :-)

  25. chocolatecup says:

    they do live in our hearts forever dont they?:)

  26. Alicia says:

    Such sadness & my sympathies yet I revel in the notion that her talents & wisdom bestowed to you are also given to me, to us through your words, her foods. Is there not a warmth that all around the world, we shall be making amama’s custard caramel in her honor??? Her legacy grows & here I hope you find a bit of comfort.
    Much love to your enitre family, Aran.
    Alicia

  27. MeetaK says:

    dearest aran – i can so relate to your feelings right now my grandmother passed away in 2007 and i went into a pretty bad down after that – loosing a loved one is not easy and i am sending all my positive vibes and huge hugs your way.

  28. Roma says:

    I am sorry to hear about your grandmother.

    The pictures are really pretty.

  29. Mercè says:

    Aran, siento mucho la pérdida de tu abuela, y has hecho el mejor homenaje que pudiste con su receta preferida.
    Ánimos y un fuerte abrazo!

  30. june2 says:

    The continuity of loving food goes on and how cool to have the memories of a grandmother’s contribution to that in you.

  31. my heart goes out to you Aran..

    this is one of the most beautiful presentations EVER ! creme caramel in jars? I could never have imagined !

    the napkin , the spoons , the whole setting is so pretty It just feels nostalgic!

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. My heart goes out to you, Aran. I am so sorry for your loss. This is such a lovely tribute to your Amama’s memory, and it reminds us all to treasure every moment we share with our loved ones.

  34. Inés says:

    Aran amamak guztiz ahanztuezinak dira, eta zuk diozunez zurea oso pertsona lasaia eta langilea zen. Eta opari eder bat utzi digu baita: bere familia. Zuek guztiok Aran. Hiletaren hurrengo egunean zure aita ikusi nuen neska peligorri bat autobusera laguntzen. Ni beste hiletatik nentorren. Badut Mexikon lanean lagun bat, Bertha, eta bere aita hil zen egun berean. Distantziak , nostalgia arintzen du baina oroimen ederrak ere denontzat. Mux.

  35. andaoana says:

    What a wonderful woman you had around while growing up. And this is a great way to cherish her memory.

  36. My heart also goes out to you Aran. This recipe is really made with the heart and we can see it, the last shot of the post is really a hymn to the joy of food and nature and all the good moments related to them.

  37. Hi,

    I always admire your blog and would love to award you with Beautiful Blog award.
    http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com/?p=7020
    If you agree place link or badge linking to the B B List somewhere on your site or mention it in the post. I will then place your link on the list.

    Margot

  38. A.C. says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. A.C. says:

    I am sorry for your loss, honey…

  40. Sylvia says:

    I am so sorry for you lost. Yesterday I herd that my grandma was sick, and I am waiting notices today. Creme caramel is my best memories of my childhood too, she always makes for us. My best wishes for you

  41. sweetakery says:

    i am so sorry for your loss…My condolences to you and your family.
    such a lovely recipe for a wonderful lady!

  42. aran i know this must have been difficult to write, but it was of the loveliest post. i love the photographs aran very much.

  43. Jen says:

    Wishing you much comfort and fond memories. Thanks for taking the time to share these beautiful sentiments about your amama as well as this delightful recipe.

  44. RuthWells says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Aran. I lost my grandmother about a year and a half ago, so I’m right there with you.

  45. Can you use any jars for these (old jam/peanut butter jars, etc.) or do they have to be canning jars? I’m a little uneasy about baking non-Pyrex/Ball glass.

  46. Aran says:

    Thedailyreason- These are recycled yogurt containers and they worked well but you can use anything, ceramic, pyrex…

    Thanks everyone!

  47. Siento muchísimo lo de tu amama

  48. idu says:

    Aran, sentitzen dut.
    Amamak bakarrak dira, eta hutsunea utzi arren, hainbeste oroitapen, eta jakinduria uzten digute..
    ez direla inoiz gugandik aldentzen,, zenbat aldiz oroitzen garen beraiekin..
    Muxuak

  49. mycookinghut says:

    I am sorry to hear that. God bless.

  50. Hilda says:

    I feel the same way about my grandfather who passed away in 2002. My condoleances and much love to you Aran. I’m sure she is watching you make beautiful things, bring joy to so many people, and is so very proud of you.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Que fotos tan bonitas. Yo pienso que si les tenemos en nuestra memoria…siguen estando. Lo siento. Carmen. Zürich

  52. So sorry for your loss. You take the most beautiful pictures and the recipe sounds so simple and elegant. I really enjoy visiting your site.

  53. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful woman – I hope things are going well despite your loss. As for the dessert? I think I’m a fan of that combo as well – it looks delicious!

  54. Maybe says:

    Memories help to keep loved ones close to you. The pictures and recipes are wonderful, as usual !

  55. Gis says:

    Bittersweet is the word :| But it’s good to know you keep in you so much of her :) Beautiful recipe

  56. Dionne says:

    These look utterly sublime! Thanks for the recipe and oh so lovely photos.

    I also want to express my condolences on your loss. I know that even though you expect it, it’s still sad to lose a dear one.

  57. vanessa says:

    je te présente toutes mes condoléances,

  58. aran, this is a beautiful tribute to her. may the flavors of your life with her keep her with you always…

  59. gretchen says:

    you have such beautiful memories. i will definitely be making this as custards and summer fruits are my two favorite things in the world. thanks to you and your dear amama.

  60. rosy says:

    Bellissima ricetta, sono molto dispiaciuta per la perdita della nonna…. un grande abbraccio

  61. jodye says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. The creme caramel, though, is beautiful!

  62. Gorgeous looks delicious.

  63. husband says:

    Ahora que tengo hijas que disfrutan como locas de sus amamas me doy cuenta de la importancia que tiene llegar a serlo. Aunque suelo decir que nací con 14 años, guardo esos recuerdos de la infancia de las manos curtidas de mi abuelo tocando el piano o pintando, siempre sonriendo, de rascar el fondo de la cazuela de la riquísima masa de croquetas de mi amama, de los paseos que dabamos cada semana por los acantilados. Es una suerte haber disfrutado de su experiencia y de su forma de ver la vida. Su generación nos inculcó valores como la paciencia y el esfuerzo. Creo que es la primera vez que pienso que algun día estará bien ser aitite. Un fuerte abrazo para toda tu familia.

  64. Dajda says:

    I am very sorry for your loss; I’m sure your grandmother will be watching over you from heaven now. And there is no better way to honour your grandma than to make a cake or a dessert.

  65. Cakespy says:

    Amama mia! What a beautiful tribute and dessert, Aran!

  66. Aran says:

    Husband- que verdad… las cosas se ven con otros ojos una vez que nosotros mismos nos convertimos en padres. eskerrik asko.

    Thank you everyone!

  67. Hola Aran (Arantxa?)
    Muchas gracias por incluir mi blog en tu lista de favoritos. Para devolverte el favor he incluido el tuyo en mi blog.
    Mi familia tambien es del Pais Vasco (San Sebstian), pero yo naci en Mexico.
    Bueno, gracias otra vez y buena suerte.

  68. Fitri says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your recent loss, Aran. She’s in a better place right now than she’s ever been before.

  69. This a great tribute recipe

  70. Esti says:

    Un fuerte abrazo.

  71. Big hugs…remember all her gifts she gave you…my heart goes out to you…
    What a wonderful blog you have.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Char.

  72. decor8 says:

    I was invited as a guest to attend that food/stylist event in Boston too – I live only an hour away and was very sad when I found out you were in the class on Monday that I was going to be a guest at. But I canceled because my grandmother died a few days before and we needed to have the funeral. I’m sad to hear you lost your grandmother too. It’s so hard when someone you love dies. Mine fell asleep in death just as yours.

    Wishing you much peace and my condolences to you and your family.

    Love,
    Holly

  73. What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother Aran. Memories like these are what makes life so much more worthwhile… take care!

  74. Zerogluten says:

    Aran, decirte sobre todo que siento lo de tu abuelita. Me ha gustado acercarme a ella un poco a través de tus recuerdos relatados siempre con la dulzura que imprimes a tus palabras, a tus platos y a tus fotos.
    Eres especial.
    Besitos sin gluten

  75. simplesong says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss … hope you are well. As always, thanks for sharing your sweet creations. xo, s

  76. Your photos are incredible- just found your blog and am in awe of it-
    Thanks.

  77. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

  78. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My father passed away 13 years ago and it was really difficult. Still is hard at times. But my daddy is still ‘alive’ to me as I have many full memories of him in my life and so many things around me (me included!!) that remind me of him. Her memory keeps her close. Her memory keeps her alive. Treasure that.

  79. Anushruti says:

    Losing a loved one can be one of the most dreadful events in life. May faith and peace be yours during this difficult period.

  80. Junglefrog says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Even if you’re expecting it, it is always a hard thing, especially when you’re far away from home.
    I loved your memories of your grandmother. Beautiful! Beautiful too are the delights you made.

  81. Lori says:

    Very sorry to hear about your loss. What a beautiful person she sounds like. But I think she passed that on to you. You always sound so lovely Aran.

  82. Vera says:

    Aran, accept my deepest condolences!

  83. Jen Yu says:

    I’m very sorry about your dear grandmother. I’ve been so swamped that I haven’t had a chance to hit the usual blogs lately :( I think it is very important to remember the good things about our loved ones when they pass on and I’m glad you have such fond memories of her. The lovely food you make is just one of many bonds you share with her. xxoo

  84. Michelle says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Aran…

    I just discovered your blog today, and it’s absolutely magical. Thanks so much for sharing so much beauty with the rest of us.

  85. PG says:

    I am sorry about your loss. My grandmother is also my Ammama, and your post is a reminder to appreciate her (and her wonderful cooking) as much as I can while I can.

  86. Aran says:

    PG- thank you very much. what language is amamma? i am curious. so similar to basque although most languages share some similarities when it comes to names for “mother” and “grandmother”.

    Thank you!

  87. Dionne says:

    I made this recipe and LOVE it! It turned out soooo well! I posted about it today on my blog and linked to you.

    Thanks!
    Dionne

  88. Katie says:

    Oh, Aran, every time I read your blog, I feel like every entry is a brand new fairy just waiting for me to enjoy it and bask in it :)

    The photography is exquisite and the stories are unforgetable.

    You really inspire me! :D

    And there are bittersweet fairy tales, of course, but I’m glad you got to enjoy her so much.

    I’m living in Madrid right now, but I’m spending some of my summer holidays with my family in Bilbao and I was wandering if you knew of any must-visit places there, both tasty or not ? :)

    Hugs!
    Kate

  89. Aran says:

    Hi Kate- Good for you! Yes, I know Bilbao very well as I grew up in Amorebieta a small town 20 km outside of Bilbao. I also went to school in Bilbao so I’m very familiar with the city.

    You should definitely visit the Guggenheim, the Museo de Bellas Artes, Parque de Maria Casilda, go to the Casco Viejo (Old Part) for pintxos (many great places), take a day trip to Gernika, Lekeitio, Algorta… so many great places around.

    You can check out more activities here http://www2.bilbao.net/bilbaoturismo/index_ingles.htm

    Enjoy!

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