Friday, February 27, 2009

Mystery mexican flan - CARAMEL CUSTARD

I'm really excited today. Guess why? Did you see a new badge on my page?
Yes, I'm a foodbuzz featured publisher:D Hurrah!
All that excitement apart, let me come back to post for today.

Vinit(for those of you who don't know, he's my hubby) once asked me to " make pudding ". Oh! Let me interrupt a second to let you guys know that this incident, again, is a story from when I was a newly wed. Infact, the story started then and ended only way later.
Ok, now I can continue. we were newlyweds and I attempted various recipes and did everything I could to impress him, not realising that sometimes it was torture [ for him, not me ] . When asked which pudding he, so desperately, wanted, he just shrugged and said "pudding"( like,as if, there was just one thing called pudding in this whole wide world) . So, after a long question and answer session, all I could get from him was that it was a great tasting, yummy, delicious dessert. The name was forgotten and and there were no words to explain the look or flavors of it. He just didn't know how to describe it. Hmmm! What a great way to make a request!
Days and months passed and so did a couple of years.Vinit's request was still pending. I had tried recipes of "umpteen" number of desserts and cakes by then, inorder to verify whether it was " THE ONE " that he longed for , but the answer was always.....No.
One fine day, at the wedding reception of a cousin..... Voila! .........There sat the dessert of his dreams.The one he had yearned for all those years. At last........CARAMEL CUSTARD.Vinit had a twinkle in his eyes and gleamed with joy.
I wondered why it never striked me, all those years, that caramel custard was the answer. Then I realized, we always miss out on the most simple things and look for the most complex. Likewise, I had come across caramel custard many a time, but it was so uncomplicated that I simply decided it just could not be 'THE ONE'.

Finally, with Vinit having found bliss, I was at peace, too, as the mystery was solved. The story ends on a happy note.Vinit has vowed never to forget the name of his favorite dessert , ever again, and the best part is that he has become an expert in making it too. This pudding is truly heaven.

Caramel custard is a mexican flan .I once tried cinnamon caramel custard in a mexican restaurant. It was not to my liking because I felt that the cinnamon overpowered the other subtle flavors in the dessert.So,I have not included cinnamon in my recipe.For all you cinnamon fans out there, go ahead and add cinnamon powder to the pudding along with the vanilla extract.And dust some cinnamon on the pudding before serving.

The snaps from this post are going to participate in the magnificient click contest . Wish me luck:)

INGREDIENTS :(serves 5-6)

For caramel:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tspn water

For custard:

  • 3-1/2 cups of warm whole milk( not hot)
  • 1/2 cup of half anf half or heavy whipping cream
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tspns vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  • Boil a pot water. Cover and set aside.(This will be required at the time of baking)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F(191 C)
  • Have one medium-sized oven-safe bowl ready nearby.
  • Melt 1/3 cup of sugar along with 1 tbspn of water in a small heavy skillet, stirring constantly, until a caramel syrup forms( The sugar will melt and turn golden and then after some more time, it will turn a darker brown.You can see the color of the caramel in the pic. When the caramel color is similar to the color of tea decoction, then the right consistency is reached)
  • This caramel will crystalise very fast. So, pour immediately into the oven-proof bowl and swish the caramel lightly around the bowl so that it coats the sides of the bowl before it crystalizes. See pic.(once it is poured into the bowl,it will crystalise and that's the way it should be)
  • Place this bowl into a larger oven-proof bowl.(As seen in the pic). Set aside. (I've used a large lasagna dish for this)
  • In a seperate mixing bowl, beat eggs well with the sugar till the sugar is dissolved.( takes 4-5 mins)
  • Add 1 cup of the warm milk, and stir briskly. (If milk is hot, it will scramble the eggs. So please make sure the milk is just warm and not hot)
  • Add remaining milk and cream or half and half; add the vanilla essence.Blend well.
  • Strain this mixture through a seive while pouring it into the bowl with the caramel. See pic. (straining is done inorder to remove the fragments of egg that is not dissolved)
  • Note: Fill the bowl only 3/4 way to the top. Do not fill to the brim. So, please make sure that the bowl you have chosen is not too small.
  • Pour hot water into the larger bowl/tray in which the caramel bowl is set. Water should be poured to the level that the inner caramel bowl is immersed half-way in water. This enables the custard to cook evenly in the bottom as well as the top (You don't have to be very accurate with the amount of water you use. A little less or little more water will not harm the pudding)
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 C) and bake for an additional 20-25 mins or until a toothpick/knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  • When done, cool the pudding in room temperature for 30-40 mins and then chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
  • To unmold, carefully loosen the sides of the custard with knife.
  • Place an inverted dessert plate on top of bowl. Hold tightly and turn plate and bowl upside down. The pudding will turn over onto the plate, caramel side up. The remaining caramel will run down the sides of the pudding. (Do not expect the pudding to hold the exact shape of the mold(bowl). It will flaten out a bit when you unmold it because it is a very soft pudding and so cannot hold it's shape firmly. But it comes out pretty good)
  • Cut and serve along with the caramel sauce.
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Luv 'n' luc'
Smitha

21 comments:

  1. the pudding looks absolutely delicious smitha..good read & nice click too

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  2. wow..I know how difficult it is to get this thing in shape..looks fab dear..:)..thank god we both don have a sweet tooth..lol..I made this choc pudding last day..wil post that soon..:)

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  3. the flan looks perfect and loved the story!! :) i wouldn't mind some cinnamon in it.

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  4. Wooow smith....i cudnt stop laughing,reading ur story about pudding. I know back home everybody has a word pudding for any sweets and its like a universal one for any pudding....:)Im not a big fan of caramel custard, but urs looks great. I have to see if my hubby likes this one,cos he normally likes sweets that im not much fond of!!..If he likes, m definitely making this.
    Good work.

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  5. Hii, desserts are in the process of becoming my weakness, this one looks divine, you know what the best part is, its simple wid basic ingredients, im gonna try this..

    Work from home

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  6. hey smith...good job!! goin great!!!

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  7. gauchi's list of wht u shd cook for him during the hols is also increasing with evry addition to ur blog !! caramel custard looks delicious!!keep it goin!!!

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  8. The flan looks so beautiful Smitha...I could eat the whole thing by myself...

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  9. Thanx Preety, Varsha, superchef, shabs, workhard,neethu and poornima.
    Lovely reading your comments:)

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  10. Beautiful! I love the perfect caramalized color, lovely recipe. Thanks for visiting me Smitha! :)

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  11. Thanks for visiting and for your very kind email!

    So glad that you finally found out what that "pudding" was that the hubby wanted.

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  12. Hi Smitha: Nice to hear from you. You have a wonderful blog here. Will start following it. Caramel custard is also my hubby's favorite..I have a slightly different version on my blog. My mom used to make this often as a kid, so I did not know that this is actually Mexican cuisine. Thanks! :)

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  13. how did u know how MUCH I love caramel custard Smitha?! *sigh* ... one more thing to really help me pack on the pounds! Anyway, on a separate note, OF COURSE you can add my blog to your list of "blogs I follow" - I'm truly honored!

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  14. Wow! That flan or caramel custard as I know it looks excellent! Thanks for visiting me and showing your beautiful space, Smitha!

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  15. Thanks Asha, Cynthia, Muneeba, Pragyan and sunshine mom.Means alot:)

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  16. Thank you for dropping by and leaving me a wonderful comment, I had to come and say hello, you have some wonderful recipes here....!

    will be back!

    trupti
    the spice who loved me

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  17. That flan looks delicious!! Great job. Nice blog.

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  18. LOL... most of teh hubby's think it simple task for us to know what they r talking abt. and all they can say is it had some sugar and looked yellow and tasted great! and we poor people have to undertand they r talking abt caramel cutstard!!! he he he..
    and u have got some lovely pics there which is making me crave for some right now! not fair...

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  19. hi smitha!,thanks for dropping by at my blog,you are cooking some delicious delights here.
    Delicious!Caramel custard was one of the first dessert I learned to make besides the desi sweets,it was a popular dessert among my circle of friends.
    Your story makes me wonder why my hubby never took interest in cooking up his favorite foods?;)

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  20. Great entry smitha, i got your entry, was held up with work on weekends, sorry for the late reply

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  21. Hi smitha..i tried ur recipe...it came out very well and yummy too...i just posted it in my blog...with the link

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