I stood in front of the refridgator holding a teaspoon in one hand and the door handle with the other one. I was crouching towards a rectangular shaped plate on the bottom shelf and savoring the creamy, milky, cardamom-y deliciousness goodness of the caramel pudding that I had baked the day before. Instead of serving myself on a plate, I prefer taking a spoon and stealing a bite randomly during my day. Because that’s the way I like it. It`s just so much better. It has become one of my comfort food, my refuge. Yes! Yes! I am an emotional eater and I can finish the pudding all by myself in a day!
I love the richness of the dessert, the burnt smell of caramel with a slightly burnt-tangy taste with a hint of cardamom. Most of all, I love how it takes me back to childhood even if it is for a millisecond. I miss those days when life was simple. Watching TV and enjoying Hum Paanch, going to ninir bari and playing with my cousins…..
Caramel pudding is also known as flan and custards by other cultures and languages. My childhood memory about homemade-dessert is dominated with ammu`s caramel pudding. She would make hers on bain-marie on the stove top. She would make it for special occasion like eid and dawats and of course when I pestered her too much. Her caramel pudding was always delicious and disappeared way to soon (thanks to the endless strings of visitors in our house and ammu`s willingness and eargerness to feed the guests).
In one of those gloomy rainy Vancouver days, I was missing home a lot and wanted to make something that reminded me of home. So, I called up ammu and asked her how to make it. With her boiled down instructions for beginners, I made my first caramel pudding and when it turned out to be perfect, I did a little dance! Such a easy and effortless desert to make.
Now I make it all the time. For pot-lucks, for birthdays, for special occasions, for just because. Hubby loves it (even though he doesn’t have much a sweet tooth). It is such an easy thing to make, and oh so delicious!
And here is my recipe:
1 can evaporated milk (370 ml)
1/2 cup half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder (**optional-but highly recommended)
For caramel: 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water
**Preheat oven to 350 F
1. Make caramel on the stove.Make sure it doesn’t get burnt. Spread the caramel all over the baking pan (I use a bread pan and make sure it is heavy bottomed) and wait for the caramel to set.
2. While the caramel sets, Mix together all the other ingredients really well with a beater. Don’t beat too much since that would give you bubbles in the Creme Caramel.
3. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, and cover with foil.
4. Prepare a water bath for the baking pan and bake for 50-60 mins. Since I used a bread pan, I just pop mine in 9 x 13 baking dish. I just leave the Creme Caramel in the oven after turning in off.
6. Let it cool for about 2 hours and then refrigerate for another 3-4 hours.
7. Run a knife around the edges of the pudding and turn over onto a plate.