Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Caramel Pudding…A forbidden indulgence from my childhood!

I was only a 10 year old and yet I had a crush……my very first crush…..a childhood crush on the gorgeous Caramel Pudding! We had a rock solid relationship but my folks found out about us at a very early stage and from then onwards, we were allowed to meet occasionally strictly in their presence. Even when this decadent dessert made its way into the fridge, I was not allowed to indulge myself in perfectly sinful pleasures at my own discretion and when I did, it was always rationed or a ‘charity’ from the elders. But the little brat in me was so desperate that I resorted to some forbidden indulgence………I waited patiently till my grandmother and aunt went for their afternoon siesta…….I walked on tip toes passing aunt’s room and then grand-mother’s bedroom, sneaked a look to see if grandma’s eyes were closed and mouth was wide opened, an indication that she was into deep sleep………then I peeped into the work area to make sure that maid had left the house, targeting the corner shop at the end of the road for her daily dose of gossip…….and then I let myself to open the door of heaven…..the door of that Godrej fridge, painted in sky blue shade and took a spoonful of that luscious, melt-in-the-mouth pudding, chilled perfectly and tasting sinfully delicious……..that was my door to heaven and the heaven kept sending me invites frequently until my grandma woke up hearing the ‘Baankuvili’ (Call for prayer) around 3 or 4 in the evening from the nearby juma masjid!

Over the years the relationship has strengthened and I still feel that electricity whenever I am served a plate of this decadent dessert swimming in a pool of caramel sauce. The child in me still forces me to get a spoon, open the doors of heaven and take a scoop from the dessert plate….it continues to be my favourite dessert, my ticket to heaven :)

Caramel Pudding, a dessert quite popular among Kerala homes, is a classic example of the culinary legacy left behind by the European settlers. With the use of simple ingredients and simple techniques, this European classic has been a regular in most homes and back home, this pudding is steam cooked in a pressure cooker.

Though we lost my aunt’s exact recipe for Caramel Pudding, I have been on the look out for finding that perfect recipe which comes close to the taste of that forbidden indulgence. The one featured here is something I have perfected over the period of time, based on a recipe my mother found on some cooking show. I played with the ingredients many times to get a perfectly balanced pudding, without the overwhelming taste of egg. My experiment with pressure cooker steaming has not been all that successful and hence I fake the bain-marie method by placing the custard bowls in hot water bath, in a large tray, and there-by creating steams to do the cooking in oven.

For Caramel Sauce:
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp water
For Custard:
  • 350 ml milk (little less than 2 cups), boiled and cooled
  • 2 small eggs
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Prepare caramel in a small shallow pan, by heating and melting sugar along with 2 tsp water, until they turn golden or dark brown, depending on your personal taste. (Note: The taste of caramel sauce is highly dependent on its colour. The darker the shade, stronger the taste with a mild bunt flavor.) Keep swirling the pan but do not stir. When sugar is completely melted and bubbles start coming up and if it has reached the colour you want, turn off the stove. Pour this immediately into 4-5 small oven safe dessert bowls or ramekins. (Note: You should work quickly here as caramel hardens fast when removed from heat). Swirl dessert bowls or ramekins quickly to coat the bottom of the bowls evenly with caramel and keep aside until it sets well.
  • Prepare Custard: While caramel is setting, beat eggs and sugar well with a hand mixer for a minute until sugar is completely blended with eggs. To this add milk and vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds.
  • When caramel is fully set (usually takes about only 3-4 minutes), pour the custard mixture evenly on the prepared dessert bowls or ramekins.
  • Prepare a hot water bath to place the prepared dessert bowls or ramekins, by pouring steaming hot water into a large cake pan or any other oven safe tray and filling it till half. Now place the prepared dessert bowls or ramekins carefully into the hot water tray, cover with aluminum foil and slide into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or a knife inserted in the centre come out clean; the texture of pudding should be wiggly at this stage. (Note: You may keep the prepared dessert bowls or ramekins first and then pour hot water till half the height of the bowl or vice versa.) Baking time differs depending on the oven setting. You may start checking anywhere from 45 minutes into baking and if the knife inserted comes out clean, you can carefully remove the hot water tray, and leave the tray on a wire rack, on the kitchen counter and let it cool down. When dessert bowls/ramekins are warm enough to touch, remove from the water bath and leave on the kitchen counter till it is completely cool. Wrap each bowl with a clear plastic sheet and refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
  • For serving: You need to unmould the pudding into a serving plate, for which run a knife in full circle by the inner side of the bowl (between pudding and dessert bowl edge), cutting through the pudding and the solid caramel base at the bottom. Then place the serving plate on top of the bowl and carefully invert/turn the over and gently lift the bowl and you will get your pudding swimming in a tasty sauce of caramel. (Note: If you have a doubt that pudding may not come out of the bowl easily, either pat on the bowl after inverting or keep the bowl in hot water for few seconds before inverting)
Related Posts:

Tiramisu China Grass Pudding Orange Delight Mango Sorbet Double Chocolate Pudding Parfait


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  1. an aunt-in-law of mine makes the perfect caramel pudding..this is very similar to her recipe..looks very decadent!

  2. hey shn...this is my fav dessert too..my ammayi used to make really superb caramel puddings!!but iam bad at making it..mine never inverts in shape!! it breaks terribly..

  3. Lovely!!! I'm so hungry now.. wish i could have a spoonfull of it! :D

  4. Lovely!!! I'm so hungry now.. wish i could have a spoonfull of it! :D

  5. "vannallo vanamala"...ee post enne pedipichu kalanju..i thot i got blocked :d....i also love this a loooooot and pic is as always yummmmmmmmmmy....and i love ur nostalgic way of writing!

  6. This is one of my favourites too...yummm :-)

  7. Ha ha loved the crush post.
    I love caramel pudding so silcky and smooth when you have them. This looks so yummy silicky delicous.

  8. Oh God... I was searching for a caramel custard ydy.......!!
    It luks gorgeous...!!! I am going to make it 2dy.....!!

  9. hello dear,
    Ormayundo ee mukam???Evideyo kandumaranna pole alle? njan thanne ...Fairy lady!Caramel pudding..Crush...ellam namukke manasilayi makale..veendum varam..
    kothipikkunathinu njan pakaram veetum.
    love u

  10. waaah..waah ustad!! :-D
    I love this pudding...my aunt makes the best pudding and I just cant get enough of it..this pic already reminds me of that wonderful heavenly dessert...I love this anyday more than ice-creams and this is truly a royal dessert...

    I liked the childhood story too...infact it reminds me of my frequent adventures to the fridge to have squash juice...though once I had a really messy experience when in the hurry i put 2 tablespoons of 'rava' instead of sugar!! I had to make it all over again..and in the end finally got caught!!:-P

  11. OMG it luks soooo yummmy....!!!
    I was in search of a caramel custard...!! My umma makes very delicious caramel custard... And ths luks something lik tht... I wil surely try it soon... May b on Valantines day..!!

  12. LOL! Nice description. I thought for a second that there was a boy!!

    I love that too, but never ate in India except Agar Agar and milk sugar pudding! :)

  13. looks very yummy & lovley photos

  14. This is absolutely my son's and my favourite. The picture looks awesome.

    - Reena

  15. Yummmmmyyyy...no words to say ..Looks great ..Thanks a lot for ur lovely comment ..Eni natil poyal avide ninnum courier ayakkam ttoo mambazhapuliserry ..:) keep in touch

  16. oh my god, this is so tempting and perfect!

  17. lovely never tried at home .... delicious

  18. that looks beautiful...im drooling...

  19. Lovely pudding..You made it sound easy but I bet it need some expertise..:)

  20. i used to look forward to this every new year. i adore this. thanks for the recipe.

  21. caramel pudding always my favourite dessert...ur pics tempting to try it..2nd innings nte thirakkilayirunnu..we got a baby girl!

  22. Wow! Nice ...i have to try this someday...


  23. Superchef,Thank you :) have you blogged that one?

    Vanpham,Thank you :)

    Divz,can you try those two tips i have given , while unmoulding?

    Happy Baker, just a spoonful..? are you sure? :)

    Resh, hehehheeee....thank you...:)

    Sunita, thanks dear :)

    Happy Cook, thx :D yes silky is the word :)

    Ramya, thx :)

    Bini, let me know if it worked for you....

    KF, Helons!!! etharaanu....jeevanode undo...? engane mungiyum pongiyum nadanna mathiyo...?? :) eppazhum diet aano..? nannayi bhakshanam kazhikkuu kutteee :))

    Mathew, LOL :D rava for sugar...hahaha....:)) my kattu-theetta items included sugar, bournvita and milk powder...:P it was really difficult for me to control my milk p/w temptations :) Btw, you should ask your aunt to take me in as a trainee...oru one week mathee :P

    Bini, i really hope it comes out well for you since you re tring to make the day special...enjoy :)

    Asha, hahha....:)) what is milk sugar pudding?

    Ashwini, Trupti, Reena, Thanks a bunch :)

    Veena, i missed veedu, naadu and manga after seeing ur pics :(

    Akal, Vanamala, Poornima ,thank you:)

    Varsha, hahah...yeah, i would not disagree with you :P

    Bee, what a yummy way to start the new year :)

    Chithra, wow! congrats to both of you :) my kissed to your baby girl...:)

    Rashmi, yes pls :)


  24. Hi Shn,

    It looks amazing. Long time lurker but first time commenting.

    Though could you explain if you can put this in Microwave? Or can the ban-marie method be tried in cooker?

    I have tried this dessert and mine never sets.


  25. the afternoon sessions are the best, aren't they? I still eat this pudding with a spoon with the fridge door open!!

  26. This is the most beautiful caramel custard I've ever seen :) and its my fav too :)

  27. Caramel puds anytime, anywhere. Give me more please!

  28. Mmmmmm....looks deeelicious. Reminded me of my mum's caramel pudding...wish i cud open my screen to get a spoon of that...

  29. Caramel pudding looks perfect and decadent...wish I could have some right now :-)

  30. hey shn...i do both the things..inserting the knife and tapping on the mould...but i guess its the consistency which never works rite for me...shall try ur recipe..

  31. Loved the way it looks, so it is that popular in kerala ?
    I can well imagine you sneaky little girl :D

  32. Hey.... this is best dessert of all for me :). U can add a little bit of powdered NutMeg for a richer flavour. It will kind of complete the taste....

  33. WOW this wa my first love too :)
    Sooooooo yummmy.. I should make it soon..

  34. Hii,
    I made it today. Vday special. Came out pretty well. Thanks a lot.
    - Nitha

  35. this looks really yummuy..will make this it's been a while since i had these. thanks

  36. it is simply LOVE!
    shn, that little cameralized stick gives a nice touch to this classic dessert!

  37. Yours looks so perfect... I haven't made this in about 2 years... was a staple before that. Thanks for reminding me ;-)

  38. You make it sound so easy shn... I will have to try and see for myself. Looks just mouthwatering and I loved the story! :)

  39. :) :) ohhh i love this!!! i had the best caramel pudding as a kid in a hospital, when i was sick, no other pudding has matched that pudding i had like 8 yrs ago.
    i can actually remember the taste of that pudding. Its amazing how certain food brings memories. :) :)
    i am defenitely trying this out some time, Making the caramel sounds tricky though.
    Loved the crush story :D

  40. Seems like you and I are in love with the same one 'Caramel Pudding'!:) Just kidding...first time to your blog, all the picture are breath taking, awesome clicks!:)

  41. i like the way you weave up the whole account .. with touches of noatalgia and longing...
    beautiful as always...

  42. Tina, don't think microwave will wokr for this one...i am not sure though.Pressure cooker steaming deft'ly works which is well explained in many blogs. pls try that method.and if the pudding still doesnt set, follow my measurements.

    Mallugirl, me toooo...:) hehhe..eppazhum kuttikal aanenna vicharam :P

    Maria, aww...thank you :)

    Comfort FN, :)

    Farah, hahha...at time i wish the same too.....:)

    Usha, thanks :)

    Divz, k...let me know.

    Sandeepa, hehhe....yeah it's quite popular....folks out there wouldnt even mind brandingit as our own dessert :P

    Anon,hmm...i might like that...will try..thx:)

    Dhanya, do try and let me know :)

    Nitha, Thanks a lot for such a prompt feedback..you made me happy with your comment :) Thx!

    Malli, let me know your feedback.

    Gattina, thanks a lot dear :)

    Raaga,2yrss....thats a long time...go make it today itself...:)

    Linda, you would love it for sure :) thx a lot:)

    Vidya, which is that hospital that gave u pudding for being sick??? i will go there next time :P yeah food sure evoke memories...me a walking exampple...hehhe :P

    Malar, triangle love :)

    Nanditha , where re u dear??


  43. ok please do not get me wrong - this is definitely not a comment on religion at all - more on food / culture. from all your previous posts your recipes etc sounded like a kerala christian household - but in this one you clearly state that it was a hindu household. are the foods between the two (hindu and christian) so similar? if i am not mistaken you have some traditional beef recipes also? i know kerala hindus eat fish - do they eat beef also?
    please do not mistake my comment for a religious / fanatic / one - really it is not! and please reply only if you do not mind. if you do then theres no problem at all - just ignore it. thanks

  44. Hi Mishmash,

    That was a wonderful post. I would like to try this recipe for my kid's birthday which is coming next week. But I have a doubt though. Instead of keeping the pudding in oven, can I use the double boiling method itself? I am kind of comfortable with it since I used it for some other pudding recipes like pineapple pudding and all.
    Do u think it will come out good and will hold the shape after refrigerating if I use this method? I had used gelatin in those recipes. I thought thats why it hold the shape.
    What do u suggest Shn?Expecting ur reply

  45. Divya, 90% of Recipes featured in this blog are my mothers recipes and I have well explained the reasons why my mother’s kitchen is a melting pot of various cuisines in thispost. In my observation, food and religion was closely knit, may be about 50-70 years ago but not any more. In the past few decades, with the blending of cultures and religions it is becoming difficult to draw a marginal difference between cuisines earlier associated with various religions. True, hindu households did not cook much beef in the early 20th century…but as the times changed, more and more people went outside for job , this particular meat also entered hindu homes. Still, there are many hindu households where religion still dominates and meat is still forbidden. There are houses belonging what is supposed to be the higher echelon of hindu religion, where they don’t cook meat but kids go out and share their friend’s food …youngsters go to restaurants and eat whatever they want….Things have changed a lot….I really have not experienced any such huge difference in my interactions….Please understand, things have changed…we re in 21st century now!

    Deeps, I am not sure as I have not tried that method but do give a try with a small quantity first and see if it works for you.you should lock in the steam inside. It might take lot of time but if steaming is the basic concept then that might work too.

  46. Hi Shn,
    A very new dessert to me. It's sound so simple and can prepare with a few ingredients. I am definitely going to try it soonest. Will let u know about my result.
    Thanks for sharing.

  47. Hey Mishmash...
    "kore diwasam puddinginte photo kandu vellam irrakkki avasanam njan athu undakki.."
    Athinu muhurtham kittiyatho njangal friendinte veetil poyyappol.

    Have to say it was yummy and came out well as the picture posted.. :)

  48. shn,

    I tried u'r caramel pudding...not really sure what went wrong , but it didn't come out well...i had kept it in the fridge(not freezer) for around 8 hours, still when i tilted the pan, half the portion got broken and was running around....please guide me if u know wat i did wrong....while making the caramel sauce i added some extra spoons of sugar and water since i needed more quantity.

  49. Sonu, thx! pls do let me know your feedback...:)

    Nayans, ohh...thats so nice to know....ur comment did bring a smile on my face...thx a lot :)

    Leks, if it is ur first time with this pudding, pls try to stick to the recipe, so u can make variations the next time, like more sugar or taste of caramel and so on, It might be coz ur custard didn't set well....might have removed from steamer before it really got time to set properly....steam till the knife comes out clean....it 's a very simple dessert with simple ingredients but sometimes it takes time to master that steaming part...so don't lose heart....with the given measurements, i have never faced this prob...also, I use standard (US) measurement cups and spoons.....may be next time, u can try adding a large egg instead of small..thats all i can think of! Hope u get it right next time....all the best :)

  50. hey Mish....
    oh i absolutely love this...my mom used to make this very often...and this one of my favourites....
    hope u r doing gr8....:)

  51. Thulasy Mary ElizabethJuly 23, 2009 at 1:22 PM

    Hi Mishmash,

    I tried this one last week and it came out well,Thanks. Your narration of specific details helps so much for a not-so-well cooking person like me.

    When I heated sugar for caramel, it didn't turn brown.I used DOMINO SUGAR-Premium pure cane granulated.Might have bought from Costco.This is the regular sugar we are using for tea and coffee.Is this something used for baking or so? Pudding was white because of that but the it was wiggly and tasty.I loved it.

    Which sugar I have to use when making caramel? Please do answer in the blog.

  52. Thulasy, sugar didint turm brown when u heated????? that's strange !!!!! i dont know how that happened.....i use the same brand of sugar too.

  53. Hi I have a microwave oven. THis is non convection. Can this dish also be made in a pressure cooker. Or can you let me know how to bake this in mu microwave.
    I absolutely love your site. I have a passion for cooking and Im waiting to try the sadhya for my friend who is a malayali. Also could you put a tooltip for the picture at mouse over. This will help in identifying what the dish is.

  54. Shnn, Thanks for this simple n wonderful recipe. I tried it today and yet to have it, but looks like it came out well...btw why did u say not to stir but only swirl while making caramel. any particular reason? I used to stir vigorously b4, but this time strictly followed u ..Cud u pls explain


  55. I love the pudding my mom makes and now that I am so far away from her in USA I was searching online on how to make the perfect pudding. I followed your directions with 'hot water in oven" trick. Came out excellent. THANKs MUCH for sharing this super recipe.

  56. Hi superchef,
    Since i don't have an oven can i use double boiler on the stove to prepare the caramel custard? If so normally how long it will take to cook this delicious dessert?
    Looking forward for your advise.
    Thank you.

  57. Tried this! looks and tates awesome! thank you so much!

  58. Hi Mishmash,
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I tried it and happy to inform you that it came out well. But I feel that the taste of egg is slightly dominating. Will using rose water instead of pure vanilla extract help to remove the taste of eggs? Please help me.
    God bless you mishmash :-)


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