Friday, October 29, 2010

Pudding (Crème Caramel)

Ichigo challenges Maya to a Pudding Showdown using the basic ingredients but doesn't know the first thing about how to take the basic ingredients of milk, sugar and eggs and how to make them in to a beautiful dessert!

What is it?
Pudding, as it is called in Japan, is actually known in most of the world as either crème caramel or flan.  It is a rich custard usually served as a dessert.  Traditional crème caramel has a caramel top that actually resides at the bottom of the mold prior to inverting.  Just as the show suggests, the flan custard is actually very very simple to make.  All you essentially do is steam the dairy liquids, stir in eggs, add some sugar and that's basically it!  While some versions require you to bake it in an oven, others actually require refrigeration to solidify.  The only slightly difficult part, just as in the show, would be the caramel.  In some versions, this caramel is poured on top of the flan after cooking and inversion but in the show as well as in most traditional versions, it is usually poured in to the mold before the custard to create a soft caramel crust on the top of the inverted pudding.  CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES OF PUDDING!

Where can I try it?
A very popular dessert in the nations of it's European origins, entire store shelves in Japan have been known to be dedicated to various pre-made puddings and pudding mixes.  In one case, you can even purchase a toy called "giga pudding" that allows you to create a giant crème caramel that is equivalent to twenty servings!  You can usually get some Jell-O Brand Instant flan mixes off of the shelves of your local grocery store but since the ingredients are simple, you cam eliminate the veritable chemistry set of ingredients and make it yourself from scratch!  You can also commonly get flans already made and packaged from brands such as Kozy Shack.

These scans are by Cookie Dough.

How can I make it?
I will post the official cookbook recipe after either I or cookie.dough translates it.

How can I make it better? (recipe from Cooks Illustrated)

Custard Ingredients:
1.5 cups whole milk (you want the fats, so don't use any other kind)
1.5 cups light cream (adjust liquid proportions if other kind of cream)
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract (or adjust to taste)

Custard Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350F and bring oven rack to center position.
2.  Steam the milk and cream together until 160F. (takes 6-8 minutes on high heat).
3.  Gently whisk eggs, yolks and sugar until just combined in a large heat resistant bowl.
4.  Off heat in head resistant bowl, add steamed dairy liquids to egg and sugar mixture, the add vanilla.
5.  Strain in to a heat resistant spouted container such as a large glass bowl.  

Caramel Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Caramel Directions:
1.  In a saucepan, bring everything to a simmer over medium to high heat. Don't stir.
2.  Continue to cook until syrup turns from clear to golden. Swirl for even browning for about 8 min.
3.  Constantly swirl until large slow bubbles appear and pop for about 4-5min.
4.  Be VERY careful, since it will be over 300F, pour a little bit in to each ramekin to coat the bottom.  
5.  Allow to harden for 15 min.

Creme Caramel Directions:
1.  Pour custard evenly between all ramekins.  
2.  Fold a white dishtowel in to the size/shape of the pan and place flat inside pan.  
3.  Place ramekins on to towel inside of deep pan.
4.  Pour boiling water in to the pan careful to not get any in to ramekins. Fill until half of ramekin height.
5.  Cover with foil and create a large slit for steam to escape.
6.  Bake for 35-40 min.
7.  CAREFULLY remove from oven and place ramekins on to a cooling rack.
8.  At room temperature, slide a paring knife around edges of pudding with blade against ramekin.
9.  Invert on to a plate and enjoy!

Tips from the show:
- Get to know your oven since some ovens bake hotter than others while some even have hotter pockets of air one side as compared to the other side.
- If you don't boil down the caramel enough, you'll get a really light honey-colored sweet sauce.  If you boil it down more, you'll get a darker and slightly more bitter tasting caramel.

Tips from the real world:
- Careful working with the caramel, it is very hot and very easy to burn yourself.  
- To minimize bubbles, minimize air by letting the custard sit for ten or so minutes before pouring in to the molds and then tapping out the bubbles once in the molds.
- Commonly, creme caramel is either too firm and eggy or too rich and milky, play with the proportions of milk and cream until you get something that satisfies your texture preferences.
- The more gentle your heating method, the smoother and more creamy your texture will be.
- Use an instant read thermometer to take temperature readings to know that your creme caramel is done.
- The pan holding the boiling water and the pudding cups will be VERY hot - be very careful not to spill or drop it.
- To clean the hardened caramel from your pot, boil water in it with a little dish soap.  To get it out of your ramekins, boil water in a large pot and put the ramekin in it or boil water in your kettle and pour it in to the ramekin.  This will make it easier to chip off the solidified caramel.

Ideas for variations:
- You can make various flavors by eliminating the caramel and using various kinds of extracts in place of the vanilla such as strawberry, orange, coffee extract, or even chocolate liquor, etc.
- Add toppings such as fruit or whipped cream after inverting the creme caramel to a serving plate.  
- The ingredients may stay the same but you can play with the proportions until you reach a taste you like.  The important part is to maintain the same volume of overall liquids.  For example, I personally used 2 cups milk, 1 cup heavy cream and 1.5 tbsp vanilla extract because of product availability and the fact that I love vanilla.  I omitted the lemon juice since I had neither lemons nor juice (which tends to be stronger than actual lemons).  Since my oven runs hot and I only had six ramekins, I also had to adjust how long it kept in the oven.



  1. Thank you! I have been wanting to make flan so badly and your info was the most helpful. Especially since I love Yumeiro No Patisseire! Kashino x Ichigo Forever! <3 - Denice :3

  2. I Love this I want to be a patissiere someday.


Tell me what you think or even send me links to other recipes for these sweets!