This traditional dessert is still one of the most popular on restaurant menus in Pakistan, specially on buffet tables as it is easy to prepare in large quantities and can be prepared ahead to chill.
My mother used to prepare it in a bain-marie on stove top when we did not have an oven at home. I always awaited the moment she would turn it out on a plate so that I could eat up the surplus caramel sauce on the sides with a spoon. Later on baking it in a water bath in the gas oven became much easier, though majority of people still prefer to make it out of ready to dissolve and cook packets. Believe me, if you’ll make it once from scratch at home, you will never go to that pudding in packets that tastes like plastic.
Making the caramel for the base is still my favourite part of the recipe as I find the aroma of caramel simply mesmerising. The colour of the caramel depends on personal preference, some like it light golden, I prefer mine on the slightly burnt and stronger side.
You can bake the pudding in one big dish but turning out larger dishes require more skill as the pudding can split easily. Undercooked pudding will remain liquidy in the centre and overcooked will have bubbles formed all around the wall. It’s easier to divide and bake the batter in individual ramekins or ovenproof custard bowls.
Recently I decided to take my favourite dessert up a notch by adding chocolate and cinnamon to it. The creamy, silky egg custard mixed with chocolate is so good that I have to resist the temptation to eat it warm with spoons even before it’s chilled. And cinnamon has that magic touch for me that instantly means luxury!
100 grams chocolate, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons more sugar for caramel base
This Is What You Do:
First to prepare our caramel base, melt sugar on low heat in a saucepan till it begins to turn golden. Keep a close watch at this stage because from here onwards the sugar burns very quickly. Turn off the heat a few seconds before it reaches the colour of caramel you want to get because even after the heat is turned off, it continues to darken for a few more seconds. Pour immediately into four ramekins or one big mould and spread.
For pudding, beat eggs and sugar together till the sugar is dissolved and there are no strands in eggs. Add milk, melted chocolate and cinnamon to it. Mix the milk and egg mixture thoroughly and pour over set caramel base into the bowls or mould.
Place the bowls in a deep dish filled 1/3 with hot water. Bake for 45 minutes or till a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Refrigerate till chilled. To remove from the bowls, loosen the edges with a knife, place a plate over the bowl and swiftly turn it upside down. Decorate it with chocolate shavings, fresh fruit or whipped cream.