Caramel Custard, Crème Caramel, Flan or Caramel Pudding are different names for a thick custard or pudding that has a soft caramel layer on top. The contrasting flavours of the delicate, rich custard and the sweet, smoky caramel sauce is absolutely delicious. Although the dessert originated in Europe, it is popular all across the world, especially in countries like North America, Latin America, India, Japan and many South East Asian countries. It requires few ingredients, has a short prep time and is very easy to make. Caramel Custard is similar to Crème Brûlée, but the main difference is that the latter has a hard caramel top, often burnt with a blowtorch.
This dessert is very close to my heart because my mother used to make it for special occasions since I was a kid. It was a favorite among my friends and many of them have asked me to post this recipe here. Whenever there was a party, I would tell my mother to store some for me separately. I was scared that everyone would eat the whole pudding and I wouldn’t get enough! Once my friends left, I would take out my secret stash and indulge myself all over again. One serving is never enough, and even now I selfishly hide some of it from my husband so that I get more slices than him 😛 Yes, I am very diabolical when it comes to Caramel Custard.
You can cook this delicious dessert in a steamer, which can take up to an hour. My mother used to make it in a pressure cooker, which is the fastest option. I hope you try it and enjoy this recipe as much as I do.
Sugar: 2 heaped tbsp
Sweetened condensed milk: 1 tin
Milk: ½ tin
Plain flour: 1 tbsp
Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
1) Melt the sugar in an aluminium pan on medium heat.
2) Tilt the pan and move the caramel around so that it coats the bottom of the pan evenly. Once it reaches a reddish golden color, take off the heat and keep aside to let it set.
(At this point if you hear soft cracking noises, don’t freak out! The cooling sugar sometimes starts to break due to the difference in temperature. These cracks are practically invisible and won’t affect the texture of the dessert.)
3) In a bowl, mix the flour and a few teaspoons of milk to make a thin paste. Dilute the condensed milk with regular milk, pour this into the bowl and mix with the flour mixture so that there are no lumps.
4) In another bowl, beat eggs along with the vanilla extract, and then add it to the condensed milk mixture.
5) Once everything is well incorporated, pour this into the pan with the caramel coating.
6) Place the pan in a steamer that has boiling water and steam for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
(If you are using a pressure cooker, pour some water into the cooker, place the pan and steam till 4 whistles. You can also bake it in a preheated oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.)
7) Check if it’s cooked by inserting a toothpick or small knife and see if it comes clean. If yes, take out the pan. Run a knife all along the inside edge of the pan. Since the soft custard will start to cool and shrink, detaching it from the sides of the pan will prevent it from developing cracks in the middle.
8) Cool it at room temperature for 30 minutes, then put in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Once it is set, take out the pan, invert it on a platter and tap the bottom. The caramel custard will come out easily and the beautiful, soft caramel layer will be on the top now. Cut into slices and serve chilled or warm. I prefer chilled.
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