A decadent burnt sugar dessert popular in Spain and Latin America, this version is flavoured with juicy poached cherries for a delightful sweet tang and gorgeous deep red colour.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (14 votes)


  • 150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 375 ml (12½ fl oz/1½ cups) tin evaporated milk
  • 355 ml (12 fl oz) tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk
  • 2 eggs, plus 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Poached cherries

  • 100 g (3½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 strips lemon peel
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 400 g (14 oz) sour or sweet fresh cherries; see Notes

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe should be begun the day before.

Chilling time: overnight

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) and boil a full kettle of water.

2. Melt the sugar in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until it turns a dark amber colour. Use a wooden spoon to mix it once it starts caramelising to ensure that it all melts evenly. Immediately pour the caramel into the base of a non-stick loaf (bar) tin. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt in a bowl, then pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve directly onto the caramel. Cover the tin with aluminium foil and place it inside a larger baking dish. Place the dish in the oven, then pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the loaf tin. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. At this point, check the texture: it should still be quite wobbly, but not liquid. If it is still liquid in the centre, continue cooking for another 15–20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the water bath. Once cooled, refrigerate, still covered, overnight.

3. To make the poached cherries, combine the sugar, lemon peel, vanilla bean, 200 ml (7 fl oz) water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer on the stove. Pit your cherries using a cherry pitter, or push them out using a metal straw.

4. Add the cherries to the pot and simmer until they are soft but not bursting, about 5 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.

5. To unmould, cut around the sides of the custard and invert onto a flat plate. Cut slices and serve with or without the poached cherries.



You may leave the cherries unpitted, just be sure to warn your guests

• If using sweet cherries, add the juice of 1 lemon to the poaching liquid


Images and text from Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez. Photography by Benito Martin. Hardie Grant RRP $50.00