This recipe is one that takes me back to very merry days of childhood; of scooping out creamy custard and then looking for more and more of the caramelized sugar lining the plate. The little pool of caramel around the custard was one of my favorite parts of all while slurping this dessert, along with fishing our nuts and raisins coated with the caramel.
I cannot claim that this is the authentic way to make caramel custard, but this is our well loved recipe from home. None of us were fond of a very eggy thick pudding, so maa started using slices to bread to thicken the custard, which allowed her to use less number of eggs. I still make it exactly the way it was made at my home. We had no oven for a good part of my childhood. The only way I knew caramel custard to be cooked was in a pressure cooker. I still find it easier and way faster to cook the custard in a pressure cooker but use the oven when I have to make individual serving.
I have my maa’s handwritten recipe – probably the only recipe I own that was written by her. Words cannot explain how precious that little sheet of paper is to me. I can hear her talk through it, just as she would do when I called her to ask for a recipe. Unlike all my recipe books which are stacked in the bookshelf, this recipe resides in the drawer of my kitchen tucked between the pages of a twenty year old diary I used to write recipes in – closer to my reach.
This is what makes my caramel custard extra special every time I make it. She not only wrote the recipe, but it is written in like a conversation interlaced with very humorous instructions only for me.
- 2 cup whole milk (16 oz)
- 2 egg
- 2 small slices of white bread with the sides removed
- 1.5 teaspoon of vanilla extract or almond extract
- 1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
- 5 tablespoon of sugar (for caramelizing) – use more sugar if you want extra caramel
- 1 teaspoon of butter
- 2 tablespoon slivered almonds – or as much/as little you want
- 1 tablespoon raisins – soak in water to make them swell - optional
Note: If you do not want to use bread, use 2 extra eggs and preferably 1 cup full cream + 1 cup milk, instead of 2 cups milk.
Add cold milk, egg, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla extract and the bread in the blender and blend it just long enough so its all smooth and there are no lumps. It should be really smooth with no traces of the bread. But do not over blend as the protein in egg will separate. Remove foam if possible. Set aside.
Take a flat thick bottomed container and add the butter and melt it. Add the 5 tablespoons of sugar (or more if you want extra caramel) and heat the sugar with the butter in very low heat till the sugar coats the bottom and caramelizes to dark brown
(If you are using small ramekins, immediately divide and pour the caramelized sugar into each ramekin.)
Completely cool the mould(s) till the caramel hardens.
Pour the mixture for custard in the container/mould, or divide in ramekins/mould and cover it tight, with lid or foil so no water/steam can go in.
Cooking the Custard:
If using pressure cooker:
Place the pressure cooker ring at the base of the cooker. Place the container/mould with custard in the pressure cooker. Pour water into the pressure cooker till it is about 1.5 inches below the rim of the container. Pressure cook it for 15-20 minutes (use cooker without the whistle. If you are using a pressure cooker which hisses and slowly releases steam, it is okay to use the whistle) and check if done. The custard will be a tiny bit jiggly, but will be set in the center.
Place the mould/ramekin in a large, deep baking pan. Pour boiling hot water into the baking pan till it is about 1.5 inches below the rim of the moulds and Cook for about 45 at 350F minutes or till the custard is firm in the center.
Cool custard and put in the refrigerator to chill for about 4 hours.
Before serving loosen the sides with a knife and turn it over, caramel side up on the dessert plate
If there is any extra caramel pour over the custard before serving. We like a lot of caramel in ours and when there is extra, we just break them and pile it over the custard while serving.
Garnish with raisins and almond and slice up the custard or serve in individual serving if using smaller ramekins/moulds.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-45 minutes, depending how you cook it
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
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