As I had mentioned in my previous post, Diwali is still more than a month away but I will be sharing some interesting desserts and a couple of snack recipes from now on till Diwali. I began this year’s Diwali post series with a crunchy snack recipe (read finger food) and its time now to begin sharing dessert recipes.
So, the first post for Diwali this year is not a traditional one in any sense except that it is made with a popular desi ingredient – suji. OR you could possibly think of it as a fusion dessert, perhaps? In my opinion, this dessert is a delicious cross between phirni and caramel custard.
It’s a great dessert to have when you wish to enjoy caramel pudding sans the presence of heavy/ rich cream. My mother used to make caramel bread pudding for the same reason, since the bread provided the caramel pudding the ‘body’ and texture and we never missed the absence of cream in the pudding.
The addition of semolina serves the same purpose here. It ensures that the pudding has texture and body and it beautifully compensates the absence of cream, which is otherwise, an essential for a creamy, smooth and luxurious textured caramel pudding.
Custard powder is another wonderful ingredient to use if you want to make an eggless/ egg-free custard. Therefore, the dessert is vegetarian, guilt free, seemingly decadent and rich, flavourful, impressive, texturally beautiful – all of which make it perfect for celebrating special occasions and festivals!
The dessert requires few and basic pantry ingredients…
4 tbsp Caster Sugar (for making caramel)
2 C Milk
4 tbsp Caster Sugar (for pudding)
2 tbsp fine textured Semolina
2½ tbsp. Custard Powder (vanilla flavoured), I used Foster Clarks brand
½ tsp Vanilla Essence (optional)
1½ tbsp Finely chopped nuts of your choice (for garnishing/ serving), optional
Keep the baking tin, in which you intend to bake the custard, ready at hand before you proceed to caramelise the sugar. (Most of the times, I caramelise the sugar in the same baking tin in which I make the caramel pudding)
Take a small size sauce pan and place it on medium low heat. Add caster sugar to it, for making the caramel (I never add water to the sugar to make the caramel) Adjust the heat as required. Once the sugar begins to melt, gently stir it to dissolve any granules.
Keep a constant eye on the sugar as it will begin to caramelise now. Keep swirling it around a little, till it just begins to attain a deeper colour. (Since the sugar will keep caramelizing in its own heat even when you remove it from heat, therefore you need to be vigilant about the colour of the sugar while it is caramelising on heat)
Pour the caramel into baking tin and gently swirl it around to ensure that the base is completely covered with the caramel. Set it aside while we proceed to make the custard.
In a small bowl, take one fourth cup milk (from the two cups of milk) and add custard powder to it. Mix it well and set it aside.
Take a saucepan and place it on medium high heat. Transfer the remaining milk to the saucepan. Add sugar and heat the milk, stirring frequently. Once the milk is hot and begins to steam, add semolina to it and continuously keep stirring or whisking the contents. Cook for approximately a minute and then add custard powder slurry (ensure to stir it, before adding, since the custard tends to sit at the bottom of the bowl)
Reduce the heat to low medium and continuously keep stirring the contents till they begin to thicken and the semolina / suji is cooked.
Remove the contents from the heat and pour in the prepared tin.
Gently tap to remove any trapped air bubble. Cover the tin with foil and place it on a baking tray of appropriate size.
Carefully pour boiling water in the tray till it comes to nearly half the height of the tin.
Carefully place the tray into a preheated oven at 180 degree till the custard is set. It takes no more than twenty minutes to half an hour, depending on the size of your baking tin (or whether you are using ramekins) and also the thermostat of your oven.
Once done, remove the tray from the oven and carefully remove the baking tin from the tray and allow the custard to cool completely. Once cool, place the baking tin in the fridge to chill for at least three to four hours. I prefer leaving it overnight, in the fridge, to chill.
To serve, run a knife around the edges of the custard and carefully turn it over onto the serving plate. Ensure that your serving plate has some elevation around the edges coz the caramel will release some syrup.
Slice, garnish with nuts of your choice and serve. Enjoy!
Serves – 8
(Do check the ‘notes’ towards the end of the post)
Note – Instead of baking the custard in a seven or eight inches round baking tin, you can bake the custard in individual portions by baking it in ramekins.
Note – I used low fat milk, also called toned milk, for making the pudding and it works well. You don’t really need to use full fat milk for this recipe.
Note – You can extend the amount of custard to three tablespoons if you desire a thicker texture for the pudding. Also, remember that the quality of custard powder can vary and yield different results.
Note – Feel free to use aromatics such as cardamom and/ or saffron to add flavour to the pudding. Or you can add vanilla extract, like I did, to make it aromatic. Fruity or citrus aromatics like orange zest, lemon zest or kaffir lime leaves too, work well.
Note – Do try and use fine textured semolina. It works best for this recipe.
Note – Please use proper measuring spoons and cups for all Easyfoodsmith recipes.
Thank you for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!