- It is a custard dessert with a layer of clear caramel sauce, as opposed to crème brûlée which is custard with an added hard clear caramel layer on top.
- Crème caramel is a variant of plain custard (crème) where sugar syrup cooked to caramel stage is poured into the mold before adding the custard base. It is usually cooked in a bain-marie on a stove top or in the oven in a water bath. It is turned and served with the caramel sauce on top, hence the alternate French name crème caramel renversée.
- Turning out larger dishes requires care, as the custard easily splits. Larger dishes also require more care to avoid undercooking the interior or overcooking the exterior. Thus, crème caramel is often cooked and served in ramekins.
- The objective being to obtain a homogeneous and smooth cream on the surface of the crème caramel, and that the base, being the caramel, remains liquid after being cooked in a bain-marie. Therefore, the importance of cooking it in a bain-marie to avoid that the caramel gets burned which would bring a taste of carbonization to the dessert.