Purin: Japan's delicious take on pudding and custard
Hi everyone! It's so good to be back. I know it's been years since my last post so I wanted to do a quick recap on what's been happening in my life. I'm now a mother to two wonderful humans, H (3 yo) and A (6 mo) and enjoying everyday with our family of four. After having H, I wrote a couple of posts thinking I could keep up but being a stay at home mother proved to be a lot more challenging than I ever anticipated. I even wrote a bunch of recipes, took photos and had plans to start delving into the baby food blog world but somehow almost 3 years have passed without a single post.
I've contemplated coming back to this blog so many times but the one thing that has always stopped me was predictable time. With a toddler and a baby in the house, I never know what the day will be like. And if you have a food blog of your own, you may already know this, but photography is one of the most time consuming aspects of a food blog. I write recipes constantly to feed my family but in order to take the photos that I envision for my blog, I need to carve out at least a couple of quiet hours during the early afternoon when the sun is at its best. I've realized that if I keep waiting for a predictable schedule, I'll never be able to write another post.
With all that's happening in the world right now, I really want a medium to spread some joy. And to do that more frequently, I need to let things slide. In this case, perfection really has been the enemy of progress. So as much as I love food photography, today's post may be my last one in a while where I include step-by-step photos and styled shots.
For my first post back from a long hiatus, I want to share one of my favorite desserts: custard purin (カスタードプリン). There's a variation of an egg custard dessert in almost every culture but the Japanese one is still my favorite with its delicate and light texture. If you've had chawanmushi before, it's a dessert version of that.
Fortunately, you only need pantry staples to make purin. You'll need 3 large eggs, 140g sugar, 500ml milk, and 1/8 tsp vanilla extract or paste. If you want to go the real vanilla bean route, you only need a small scrape of the pod (conversion is usually 1 pod to 1tsp).
Start off by preheating the oven to [ ] and getting your baking ware ready so that once the caramel and custard are ready, you're set to bake. You need some ramekins inside a larger container for the water bath, all oven safe. Spray the ramekins with pam or rub some canola oil with a paper towel so that your purin will come right out when plating. Boil a kettle of water for the water bath.
In a small pot, pour half the sugar evenly and add 3 tbsp water and set on medium high heat. If the heat is too low, the sugar will crystallize but if you have it too high it will burn so keep watch. Once the sugar melts and the mixture comes to a boil, swirl the pod gently and periodically so that the liquid caramelizes evenly. Do not stir as that will also cause crystallization. When it's golden brown in color, take the pot off the heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp water into the pot as you swirl. Pour out the caramel into the ramekins and let cool.
Warm up the milk either stovetop or in the microwave and then dissolve the rest of the sugar and vanilla into the milk. Whisk the eggs well and then strain into the milk mixture. Mix the custard base together. Pour into the ramekins on top of the caramel.
You're now ready to bake! Place the baking dish with the ramekins into the oven and carefully pour the hot water into the dish. Be very careful not to burn yourself and to not get the water into the ramekins. Bake for 25-40 minutes and then let cool. For the small ramekins, I did 25 minutes but as the size of your container grows, so will the baking time. You can either serve it room temperature or chilled. I personally like the chilled version best. Hopefully when you flip the ramekins over onto a plate, the purin will come right out!