I don’t think I am doing enough recipes that involve the love of my life, you know, custard. I should actually just make this a custard blog and do recipes of nothing BUT custard. That would be GREAT. Custard to slightly impress. No wait, Custard to impress the shit out of everyone. Hell ya.
Too late now though, I will have to do some custard between other things that are not custard for now. But today! Custard. In fact, I think the first custard love. Custard pudding aka Crème Caramel, is just called “Purin” in Japanese, and it is significant because it is a very highly featured dessert in ANY anime worth its money. They always look SO good.
It is also a dessert you can get from store ready to eat in a cup. It is so jiggly! The ready to eat ones usually also contain gelatin, so think a custard with a firm texture with a bit of bounce in your mouth. I think they might do it because that is probably the only way you can slide the entire thing out of the cup with no effort. When I make it at home though I don’t add gelatin, mostly because I am lazy and I don’t want the extra step and I think it is amazing without the gelatin as well.
So what is the difference between a purin and crème brûlée, or a flan?
Short answer: Creme Brulee is really rich and creamy, made with egg yolks and heavy cream with a crust of burnt sugar on top. Flan is super dense made with evaporated and condensed milk baked in the caramel sauce. And purin is sorta in between in texture and taste a lot lighter.
This is the first and only dessert I was able to make for a good 15 year in my life. The super thing is that it is very customizable as well. You can literally change every component of it to make slightly different texture and flavour. The basic custard recipe is very basic, for every egg, you use 100ml of milk and 20g of sugar. Very simple, but here is how you can customize each part.
You can switch out whole eggs with just egg yolks. Though, you will need at least 50% whole eggs. So if you make a 2 eggs recipe, one whole egg and one yolk. 5 Eggs recipe you can use 2 whole egg and 3 yolks if you want it creamier, or 3 whole eggs and 2 yolks if you want it a bit more solid. More yolks make it creamier and closer in texture to creme brulee, the egg white in the custard is what gives it the firmness and that is why you need to keep 50% of the eggs whole. Experiment and see what you like!
Basic 2% milk would do just fine if that is all you have. But you can also switch in half & half or use heavy cream. The higher the fat content, the creamier the texture. I’d recommend keep half of the total volume of milk to be regular milk. I have not tried it with plant based milk but I have read recipe with soy milk so that would also work.
Go nuts here and mix up your favourite sweetner. I used honey in this recipe but you can go full white or brown sugar. And/or use some of your favourite syrup like golden syrup or maple syrup. Do taste test to see if you need to adjust the sweetness.
Last but not least, flavouring!
If you are using an extract, just add it to the egg+sugar mix. If your flavouring is a powder, like green tea or cocoa you can add it into the egg+sugar mix as well. If you want to do something like earl grey, or things that need to be activated in water, add it to the milk as you warm it up. Or, leave it in cold milk for a longer period of time to infuse the flavour. The combination is endless! Try it all out and see how they turn out!
One very last thing is about the ramekin you use. It looks best if you use a taller ramekin like the one on the right. A little bit of height is what gives purin its very lovable shape. But if all you have is the wider mouth ramekin that is great too, they are also great for creme brulee because of the bigger surface area for some awesome brûlée.
For the Caramel:
1.You can make more or less of the caramel, just use 2 Sugar: 1 Water ratio. Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Give it a light handed stir so the sugar and water come together into a wet sand texture.
2. Cook the mixture over a medium heat. DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNATTENDED. Also do not stir once it starts cooking. You can swirl the liquid in the pan a bit to help the mixture mix better if you have hot spot on your stove that caramelize the sugar faster than other spot.
3. The mixture will first bubble, then start to take on a bit of colour. You should be smelling the nice burnt sugar smell as well. From here on, it will turn from amazing tasty to nastily burnt in a matter of seconds.
4. You are looking for a nice dark brown colour. Delicate balance between nicely caramelized and burnt. If you are unsure, take it off the heat a as soon as it is a dark enough colour for you.
5. Pour the caramel into your ramekins. Try to divide them as evenly as you can. Or pour more into the one you have reserved for yourself.
For the Custard:
30g Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat oven to 170°c/340°f .
2. Combine the eggs and sugar in a bowl. Add in the extract. If you are using honey, it might be all difficult and doesn’t want to be mixed. Don’t worry, just mix to the best of your ability for now. Also, preheat oven to 170°c/340°f now.
3. Heat the milk up in a small sauce pan and bring it to a simmer. When you see bubbles forming on the side of the pan, remove from heat. DO NOT BOIL.
4. Whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture. The milk should just be warm enough to help dissolve the sugar but not enough to cook the eggs, but that is no reason to not whisk like your life depends on it.
5. Strain the mixture. You know those stringy egg white bits? You don’t want those, they will solidify when cooked and ruin the texture of the custard.
6. Put all your ramekins into a large baking dish. Fill the ramekins with custard. Place the baking dish into the oven very carefully. Then, fill the baking dish with some hot water. I fill the baking dish after putting it into the oven because carrying all those liquid is very tricky, I didn’t want anything to spill so that is what I opted to do. If you are more confident than me and like to work outside of the oven, you can pre-fill the dish first.
7. Bake for ~30 minutes. Or until the edges are set and the middle still jiggly. Take them out of the oven and water bath and let it cool down enough to be transferred into a fridge. It will need a few hours to completely cool down and set in the fridge. So if you want to serve this at dinner, you will need to budget in cooling time.
8. To serve, take the ramekin out from the fridge and run it under some hot water from the tap. use a small knife and cut around the edge of the container. Flip it over to a plate. The flipping needs a bit of patience, the custard may not slide out straight away or at all but you will get there.
All that is left is to eat the fruits of your labour. It is okay not to share. :>
On a very unrelated note,
Have you had these grapes?!?! They are call muscat grapes here in Canada and this is the season for it. They are sorta green and sorta pinkish. Super sweet and taste vaguely of lychee. If you see them, buy some and give them a try! They are AMAZING.