Caramel Custard...Childhood memories revisited

I have very fond memories of my childhood, one of which is visiting my native place Kerala "Gods Own Country". Starting from the 3 day train ride (that was a long long time ago) to the lush green landscapes, coconut trees, serene beaches, backwaters and the lovely houses with beautiful gardens.

Back waters of Kerala......clicked on our honeymoon trip

One such house is my aunt's (my dad's sister). I still remember playing in the garden, plucking flowers for my grandma's morning pooja and running helter skelter around the house. But of all those memories, one of the things that was stuck in my head forever was my aunt's caramel custard. She makes the world's most delicious caramel custard. It was at my aunt's place that i first devoured this delicious dessert. So today whenever i have an opportunity to eat this, i always miss my aunt and her delicious custard. 

Back to the present day. 

Caramel custard or pudding, creme caramel or flan whatever you may call it, is one of the most (at least in my opinion) delicious, melt-in your mouth desert which is very easy to prepare and you don't have to buy any fancy expensive stuff from the grocery, yet you end up with a five start restaurant quality desert.

Caramel custard consists of a creamy custard made of eggs, sugar and milk/cream with a soft layer of caramel on top. Do not confuse it with creme brulee it contains hard layer of caramel on top.

My aunt's recipe was the same eggs, milk and sugar (may be vanilla extract as well). She used her trusty pressure cooker to cook it. And yes i wanted to replicate it. But i tweaked the recipe a bit not coz i wanted to but coz i had this leftover heavy cream sitting in my refrigerator :P. This can also be prepared on gas stove with little water on large pan, the bowl with the custard can be placed in the pan and you can cover the pan with a lid until the custard is cooked.

My tweaked caramel custard recipe is also simple. So here it goes...

You will need

Serves -2

For the Custard:

1 cup of heavy cream (you can totally substitute this with only milk) 
1/2 cup of whole milk
2-3 tablespoons of granulated sugar (i used less sugar coz i don't like it when the custard is too sweet, it takes the fun away from enjoying the caramel on top)
1 whole egg 
1 egg yolk
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

For the Caramel
1-2 tbsp of water
4 - 5 tablespoons for the caramel (again you can use more if u desire :P).

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. 

In a pan add the sugar, water and stir. Put in on the stove with low-medium heat. Cook on low heat until the sugar melts (turns dark golden brown in color). Pour the syrup on to two ramekins or any heat proof bowl. Allow the sugar syrup to harden. Set this aside.  

In a sauce pan pour the heavy cream, milk and vanilla extract. Cook this mixture on a medium heat until you notice small bubbles at the edge of the pan.

When the cream and milk mixture is still cooking, in a separate bowl mix one whole egg, one egg yolk and sugar. Whisk (for about 2-3 minutes or so) until the mixture turns pale yellow in color. 

Carefully add a little amount of the hot cream and milk mixture into the egg mixture. Please remember to continuously whisk the mixture while pouring else you will end up with scrambled eggs. Strain if you want. Your custard is ready. Pour this into the ramekins or bowl.

Place the ramekins in a rectangular pan. Pour very hot water in the pan until it reaches about an inch of the ramekins. Bake for about 35-40mins or until the custard is set (and has very little wobble to it when shaken). 

Remove the ramekins from the water. Cool it for about half an hour and later cover and refrigerate until serving.

To unmold the carmel custard, carefully loosen the sides of the custard with a small knife. Place a small dish or a plate on top of the ramekin or bowl, holding very tightly turn the plate and the ramekin upside down. Shake the ramekin gently to unmold the custard. Now comes the best part....once this is done you will notice delicious caramel syrup running down on the sides of the custard. Yummmyyyyy.....

Happy Cooking :)

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