May 13, 2007
After 18 years, The first legal shipment of Indian mangoes to the United States landed at Kennedy Airport last week and would soon be available everywhere in the supermarkets. AH!Finally, somebody heard the collective prayers of homesick desis. Every summer we buy mangoes from wherever (as long as it looks like mangoes) and close our eyes and try to simulate the taste of the mangoes back home. Every weekend phone call to my folks was filled with them regaling me with how many mangoes they had to give away as the supply was more than what they could consume! Then my friend Sra tempted me more with her photo and write up on mangoes some weeks back!
Friday started the weekend with the hot news that the local Indian groceries had the coveted Alphonso Mangoes and my friend rushed to get it for us. They are $35 for a dozen!!!!
Needless to say, after a minute of heart searching, the yearning to eat a mango ripened in the hot Indian sun won over the pragmatics of the money. But it all fell flat when my friend reached there with happy anticipation, only to be told curtly,"Sab Khatam, Monday ko aao."(It's all finished, come on Monday):(
So the quest continues. Maybe this week will be better. I am waiting to see which of our happy bloggers got to eat the Alphonsos first! Meanwhile, I decided to make a comfort dessert to fill the heart.
Caramel custard was a staple in my house growing up. Some like the custard less sweet with the caramel syrup adding the bitter-sweetness and some like it sweet.
It is supposed to be easily digested and full of protein so good for kids and adults alike.(Unless they have egg allergies or cholesterol.)As a kid, I remember my mom making this on a daily basis once when my sibling was recovering from Typhoid and for a long time, I associated it with illness.
But it is a creamy easy dessert with minimal preparation so here goes..
You will need:
Sugar-1/2 cup (use a little more if you like it sweet)
Milk- 2 cups
Vanilla essence-1 tbsp
(Use the same measuring cup for everything.)
For the caramel:
Brown sugar(preferable) or plain white sugar-3 tbsp
Baking Ramekins-4-5 moulds or one deep baking dish.
You will also need a large shallow metal or oven proof bake ware to set the moulds in and bake.
Heat the brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp water in a nonstick pan on medium heat till the sugar starts melting. Do not use anything to stir and just shake the pan to spread the heat. When the sugar starts turning into golden brown liquid, let it simmer and then pour it equally in all the ramekins. Tilt the dish all around to coat the bottom evenly and a little up the edges. The syrup will harden quickly so pour and spread into one mould at a time.
Take care not to let the syrup bubble too much and burn. It will taste too bitter. Of course, if you like the bitter taste as a contrast, go right ahead. If you are using one baking dish, pour the whole syrup into it and tilt around.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.(190 C)
Blend together the eggs and the sugar using a whisk. Add the vanilla and milk and whisk well to get a very smooth liquid. The milk should not be boiling as it will curdle the eggs. But if it is warm it dissolves the sugar faster and speeds up the baking. Pour this liquid carefully into each of the moulds till three fourth full. Leave a little space at the top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven to 375 deg for about 35-50 minutes till a toothpick inserted through it comes out clean. Do not take it out of the moulds. Cover and let it cool in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
How To Serve: Just before serving, using a thin knife, loosen the edges of the custard. Place a serving plate (big or small based on the size of the moulds) top side down so as to cover the custard mould. Invert the mould along with the plate and carefully lift up the mould.
Viola!..The cooked custard is now perched regally on the plate luxuriating in a caramel bath.