Creme caramel is quite different in taste and texture than creme brulee. Because it is made using milk instead of cream, and with some whole eggs, the texture is lighter, more set and refreshing.
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Preheat the oven to 300°F (150 °C). Place four 5-ounce (150 mL) ramekins in a baking pan with sides just taller than the ramekins.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks with the sugar. Pour in the milk and whisk gently, and then whisk in the vanilla and salt. Strain the mixture and let it sit while preparing the caramel, to let any bubbles on the mixture dissipate.
Bring the water, sugar and lemon juice up to a full boil over high heat without stirring, and continue to boil until it turns an amber colour. While the sugar boils, occasionally brush the sides of the pot with water, to keep the sugar from crystallizing. Pour the caramel into the four ramekins equally. Let cool a minute.
If there are still quite a few bubbles visible on the custard surface, spoon them off. Slowly pour the custard mixture into the ramekins, and dab off any new bubbles with a paper towel. Pour boiling water into the baking pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil (or a lid)and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the custard comes out clean. Immediately (but carefully) remove the ramekins from the water bath to cool on a cooling rack and then chill completely, at least 3 hours.
TIP: I use my canning jar tongs to remove the ramekins easily from the water bath without burning my fingers.
To serve, run a palette knife around the inside edge of a ramekin. Place a dessert plate over the ramekin and invert both. Lift the ramekin off, leaving the custard on the plate with the caramel as a sauce.