Purin is a flan-like cold custard dessert in Japan. The name “Purin” comes from “pudding”, but it is not the same thing as the gooey pudding in the U.S. It has a firmer texture similar to Mexican flan and also has caramel sauce on top. It is a very basic sweet -- silky, creamy, rich and smooth -- that is served chilled and adored in Japan. Purin is a comfort dessert for Japanese people.
There is a popular instant Purin mix you can buy at grocery stores in Japan. Add some milk, mix, and chill, and there you are -- easy Purin. This is a different kind of Purin, though. Gelatin is used in this type of Purin. Because of the gelatin, it has a texture more like Jell-O than egg custard. It is very easy to make and tastes good in its own way, but this baked custard is much better.
You can make Purin at home from scratch, and that’s the best kind. It’s really not hard to make at all. The ingredients are simple: only milk, eggs, sugar, and some vanilla. Purin is baked in a water bath in the oven, so it is hard to overcook. It may be a little more work to make than going to the store, but the outcome is not comparable to the store-bought.
In Japan, there are three types of Purin. First, Yaki pudding, which is custard cooked in the oven. There is also Mushi pudding, custard cooked on a stovetop in a steamer, or in a bain-marie in a pot or frying pan.
- 2 cups milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Butter, to grease the pudding dishes
- For the Sauce:
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Butter individual pudding molds.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Add 6 tablespoons of sugar and simmer until the sauce is browned.
- Carefully add 1 tablespoon of warm water to thin the sauce.
- Pour sauce into the molds.
- Put milk in a medium pan and heat to about 140 F. Dissolve sugar in the milk and add vanilla extract.
- Stop the heat.
- Lightly beat eggs in a bowl. Gradually add warm milk to the egg mixture. Run the egg mixture through a strainer. Scoop out some bubbles from the surface of the egg mixture.
- Pour egg mixture over the sauce in the molds.
- Place the pudding molds in a steamer and steam on low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Stop the heat and let them cool.
- Remove pudding from the molds and serve on plates.