It all started from a milk tea pudding i had at Yufuin, a tiny town in Kyushu where fresh custard puddings are rampant. They are sold in every single patisserie, like a imperative emblem to Yufuin pride, and come in mini glass bottles so kawaii!
The one i had was thick, smooth and resplendent. What read 'milk tea' tasted doubtlessly Earl Grey-ish and it didn't take long before i spooned down to the last curds. At that instant i told myself, i am going to make an earl grey pudding too!
Difference is, i took an European rather than Yufuin approach. I like my puddings silky light yet still creamy lush at the same time, and a classic Crème Caramel (Japanese call them purin or custard puddings) is the best exemplar. Creamy, eggy, wobbly.... What's more, they come with a surprise punch.
Steeping in the Earl Grey is easy. I merely snipped purses of trusty Dilmah Earl Grey teabags, then allowed them to infuse into the preliminary milk for awhile. Bergamot works fast.
Oh when the runny golden caramel gushes out of its enclosure, it is simply aphrodisiac!
The marriage of french & japanese, lushness of both bergamot & caramel coalesced into one rich flan dessert... what's not to love?
Earl Grey Crème Caramel
makes 10 puddings
200g fine sugar
20g hot water (about 90C)
250g whole eggs
80g egg yolks
150g caster sugar
650g fresh milk
150g whipping cream
Leaves of 2 Earl Grey teabags (i used Dilmah)
a little vanilla extract
Make the caramel tops. In a small pot or saucepan, place the sugar and heat with a large flame. Shake the pan regularly to prevent the sugar at the sides from burning. When the sugar has fully melted and smoke emerges from the sides, pour in the hot water (be extremely careful it might sizzle and splutter). Once it boils, remove from flame.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of hot caramel into the bases of each pudding mould. Set aside.
Make the pudding. Place the milk, cream, earl grey tea leaves & vanilla extract into a pot and heat to about 70C.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together. Pour the hot milk into this egg mixture, whisking it in as your pour. Strain the mixture into the caramel-lined moulds. Place them into a water-bath with hot water coming up to 2/3 of the moulds. Bake at 160C for 30 minutes.
Remove from water-bath and leave to cool down. Cover with cling film and refrigerate thoroughly for several hours.
To turn out, loosen the sides with a small palette knife, set a serving plate on top and then turn it upside down. If needed, give it a hefty shake to release.