May 13, 2007

Caramel Custard

Caramel Custard
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.


Caramel Base:
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.

The Custard:
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.


bee said...

shaheen, i have been meaning to try this dish for a while. your recipe has been bookmarked. we just baought a fresh jackfruit that cost a bomb, now alphonso mangoes are so expensive. i really miss what we took for granted in india.

Anonymous said...

here we get a wide range of local mangoes, but not even one tastes nearly as good as our indian ones. but we do get indian ones at exorbitant rates.....
caramel custard has a special place in my it is one of my early success stories as a bride. i now microwave it, as it takes only abt 10mts and at times add jathika(nutmeg?) powder to take away the egg taste completely

Anita said...

Better luck with the mangoes next time, Shaheen (as I bite into a Sindhuri...)

Caramel custard was one of the first 'fancy' desserts I tried but looks like it was a staple at your home!

Mishmash ! said...

hmm...caramel custard was something which I used to enjoy as a kid....but had lost the recipe...i will be trying urs .

take care and I hope you get to enjoy those mangoes you have eyed on :D and dont think too much about its price tag, we all live to eat :)


sra said...

That's steep, $35! And to go out of stock even when you're prepared to pay, how painful! Hope you get to eat them soon!
I once put orange zest in caramel custard, nice variation.

Manisha said...

I'll take caramel custard (or flan as it seems to be called here) over the mangoes. I heard that they weren't as good as the ones you get locally in India. Aam khane hai to des chale jao. Besht! (And when you do that, throw a whole bunch of the cleaned-up gutlis at Anita, ok?)

Diane said...

I'm not Indian, but the first thing I said when I heard about the nuclear deal and the end of the mango embargo was - "oh my god...Alphonsos!" My friends all thought I was nutty.

I don't think we have them yet here in CA. I eat the small kidney-shaped yellow mangos from Mexico - here they are called "Manila Mangoes," but I am not sure why as they are not from Manila. I'm keeping my eyes open for the good stuff.

Mallugirl said...

wow Bee, u got a jackfruit! I am getting my mom to make a jam like concoction of it and keep.

Ki,i need the recipe for the microwave version, please... :)excellant idea to use jathika. will try that also next time. so one of ur early success..way to the heart?

Anita, i am sure u will soon a stomach upset, gloating over ur mangoes!!!if u don't get hit by manisha and me throwing gutlis.
we videsis don't gloat.:)

SHn, i definitely live to eat.. so keeping my fingers crossed.

sra,see what u started..the mango jest would be a nice variation to take the eggy taste away.

Manisha, flan is a denser version of caramel custard.. more eggs and more sweet. I agree, going to india is the besht way to eat mangoes, but i can't right now.:)

Diana, hmm.. my friends think i am nuts!the manila mangoes are not too bad, but they all taste a bit watery somehow, thats why my obsession.

Roopa said...

Thanks a ton for sharing this recipe! my kids love this but have never tried out will bookmark yours!

Sig said...

Shaheen, Good luck with the mangos next time, befriend the grocery store employees and ask them to keen a dozen aside :)... BTW, $3 a mango is not bad, it is only as much as a latte if you think about it... :)

Caramel custard is my fav, never attempted to make it though. Your picture looks too tempting, bookmarking this recipe to try...

Asha Simon said...

Good to see you are back Shaheen. Hope you did your tests well. Great pic! I would also like to know the microwave version!

Vcuisine said...

The pictures and write up are really good. Clear presentation. Will sometime shaheen. Because of Egg content i never tried this so far though i like this dish. tks for sharing. Viji

Coffee said...

Look at the irony!!!! Here in Singapore we get decent Alphonso's every year at a comparatively decent price..... I am not a big fan of mangoes and hence don't really get affected by mango season or no season!!! :)

The custurd looks gorgeous!! :)

Sia's Corner said...

better luck next time for the mangoes shaheen:) we got a big box of alphanso last week and it was worth of every penny:) i guess its much cheaper here in engalnd compared to $35 in US:)
loved the pic of caramel custard...beautiful and very tempting although i am not a gr8 fan of it...

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

It looks nice...Love to have one...I think i will try this one....I love it....

Mandira said...

I went to the grocery store here and the indian mangoes are not yet available... hopefully, they will be here soon. The caramel custard looks yummy.

Deepa said...

mangoes , i love them and i too miss them here at st louis ...wish we get it here as we get apples and grapes...missing india

Gini said...

I love flan and custard. That looks really tempting.
I was all set to eat mangoes until my vacation got cancelled. But if I go soon and eat some, I will remember all my blogger friends. Didn't mean to sound mean at all :)

VINI said...

I have no words to express how good your caramel custard looks! My mom makes lovely caramel custard. After seeing your presentation I'am craving for it :).

Anonymous said...

great Caramel Custard...great presentation...thanks for sharing

indosungod said...

Shaheen? Did you have a Mother's Day? Did the boys cook up something special. Caramel Custard looks super tasty. Alphonso dow we have to elbow our way to get a few though looks like we have pay dearly.

Revathi said...

Hi Shaheen
Alfonsos in the market ??Which world am I living ?? Nice to see u back. How was mothers day ?

Mallugirl said...

Roopa, Take care with the oven timings.It varies based on the heat in the oven. Do let me know if it turned out ok.

Sig, u get the prize for the most original idea. guess what the price has gone up to 40 now!

Asha, I am awaiting the results and feeling lazy to start studying for the next one.I will post the microwave version when ki sends it.

Vcuisine.. The egg content is comparitively high but once in a while...

Coffee, u have to get ur head examined.. u don't like mangoes? I hope its not too hot there!

Sia, enjoy the mangoes. Custard people do fall into clear like and dislike camps.:)

Sukanya, do try and let me know.

RP said...

I thought I left a comment here.. who took it???

I wanted to say your recipe sounds much better than mine. Mine has 3 eggs to one cup of milk! I thought it wouldn't set otherwise.. I will be trying this next time, hopefully today itself. :)
Good luck with those mangoes.

Sandeepa said...

That is one fabulous caramel custard. Didn't see any of those alphonsos at my Indian Grocer .. :(

Anonymous said...

Hi shaheen,
wow..ur custard looks delicious..
I had chilli chicken from trichur..I htink it was elite..any ways this was when i had gone for PC Thomas classes...and that was long back some time in 92...the chilli chicken I had then had no coating ,was spicy and the chicken was 1 or 1 1/4 inch long and 1/2 or 1/3 inch thick..nice bite size peices that u can eat with fork..and is yummy with u know how to make it made the way they make beef chilli?
I hope u take this home work seriously :)
I wish I was ur neighbour :)

enjoy ur summer


Anonymous said...

I miss the chelan maanga and the naattu and ellore maanga..mangoes has not yet reached atlanta...till now all we get is the kent :(

waiting for r chilli chicken recipe:)

Anonymous said...

forgot to tell u the chilli chicken was dry

Mallugirl said...

MAndira, Good luck with mangoes at ur end.

Deepa, i agree. it would be good if they were readily availble.

gini,remember ur blogger friends and eat one extra for me.hopw ur vacation plans take off soon.

Vini, Dileep, Thanks for ur sweet comment.:)

Indo, i have no time to go looking for it everyday, unfortunately.:(

Revathi, where are u living is the question. To be honest, i would not have known if my stay at home friend didn't know thru her network.

Mallugirl said...

RP, i mailed u the feedback.

Sandeepa, do blog abt it when u get the mangoes.

Anon, since i haven't eaten at elite, i have to stretch my imagination to think what it could be like.som eof my family is from trichur so let me find out from them. Also, i like responding to a name, so please leave a name. i promise not to haunt you.:)
i do know a chili chicken recipe which i will post on the weekend. so u see, i do take my homwork seriously.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shaheen,

Good to see you take ur homework seriously :)thanks Shaheen...and regarding elite..they serve yummy coffee there..all topped with cream.....I tried the chicken chilli with the recipe of beef chilli i found on was okay..didn't have the softeness and colour...somehow the taste in my memory is was nothing like this...

chilli Beef
Naadan Beef Curry with a Chinese touch

1 Beef - 1/2 kg
2 Onion -3 no.
3 Capsicum - 1 no.
4 ginger -i small piece
5 green chilli-3 no.
6 garlic - 4 pieces
7 soya sauce - 1 tablespoon
8 tomato sauce - 1 tablespoon
9 chilli sauce - 1 teaspoon
10 pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
11 turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon

Cook beef with ginger ,green chilli ,turmeric powder and salt in a pressure cooker with no water.
Then boil it till the water disappear.
Fry it in another pan with oil till it become black in color.
Then saute 2,3 and 6 till golden brown with the remaining oil.
Then add 7 ,8 and 9 and stir for some time and add the fried beef .........

just thought i willl give u the recipe i found...

not anonymous


Nandu :)

Anita said...

Where are the guthalies that were supposed to be coming at me? Ah, looks like many are having to go without them mangoes...? :-)

There is few things we get to gloat about...Small mercies :-)

Mallugirl said...

Nandu. Thanks for ur recipe for chili beef. I will try it and am still waiting for response from my family on the chili chicken.

Anita, Aam ki gutlis.. gloat on .. :) and enjoy it for me too.

Prema Sundar said...

caramel custard looks lovely shaheen. Kids would surely love this ...
ohhhh 35$ for a dozen.. OMG hope u get it soon.

Ranjini said...

hi mallugirl, i live in NJ too. though am not a mallu, my hubby is and am always looking for mallu recipes to please his palate. were you able to get the alphonso mangoes finally, if so, where did you get it. i think i can swim across oceans for alphonso mangoes :)

Anonymous said...

I came across your web page while searching for "Caramel Custard"
Thanks for the detailed recipe.

I tried it but have to admit it came a disaster (due to my cooking skills)
I will try the recipe again better prepared next week.
thanks for the recipe.
To begin with, i added a cup of sugar extra by mistake. (read 1/2 cup as 1 1/2) :(
Although I coated caramel at the bottom of the pan, in the oven, it seems to have risen up along with the custard and was found floating on the surface :)
I put the whole thing in one vessel and it did not get cooked inside even after a n hour in the oven :)
at last it did solidify somewhat, but i could drain sugar solution out of it, and it seemed like very watery. let me refrigerate it and see if it gets any better.
I will defintely try it again next week putting my mind to it, and im sure i will have positive results to report.

Jay said...

Caramel custard looks yummy!!! Planning to make it this weekend.
Just one doubt. Can I use muffin pan for baking this and does it require a water-bath?
- Jay

Saritha Thomas said...

Hi Just wanted to know if u can cook the custard without an oven as I still havent figured how to work my oven...