4Oven-Safe Cups150ml/5 fl oz, substitute: ramekins or custard cups
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Let's make the caramel sauce. Add 2 teaspoons of water to a pot of sugar. Turn on the burner. Avoid stirring but occasionally swirl the pot to distribute the sugar.
The sugar will gradually dissolve and turn into a clear liquid. When large bubbles form and the syrup around the edges of the pot begins to brown, it will quickly darken so be sure to keep your eyes on it.
When the caramel sauce becomes nice and golden brown in color, quickly place the pot onto a baking mat or trivet. Then, add the hot water in 3 to 4 steps. The hot liquid may splatter so be careful not to burn yourself.
Let it sit to cool. Then, put the caramel sauce in a pitcher and keep it in the fridge. The caramel will thicken as it cools.
Let's make the egg mixture. Whisk one whole egg and one egg yolk in a bowl. The balloon whisk should always make contact with the bottom of the bowl to avoid creating unwanted foam.
Combine the milk and heavy cream in a pot. Add the sugar.
Open up the vanilla bean lengthwise with a knife. Then, scrape the inner seeds from the bean using the back of the blade. Add the seeds and bean to the cream mixture. Alternatively, you can use vanilla extract or if you're in Japan vanilla oil is widely available for cooking.
Heat the pot and occasionally stir the cream mixture. When small bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pot, remove.
Add the cream mixture to the beaten egg a little at a time while mixing. Gradually combining the mixture will help avoid cooking the egg.
Strain the egg mixture into a pitcher. This will help the pudding to have a smooth texture. Remove the foam on the surface with a spoon.
Lightly stir the egg mixture and pour it into oven-safe cups or ramekins placed on a baking tray. The mixture should be divided evenly. Remove the foam again.
Cover each cup with a piece of aluminum foil. This will help to keep the surface from drying out.
Place the baking tray into the preheated oven. Then, pour boiling water into the tray to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Be sure to use oven-safe cups.
Bake at 150°C (300°F) for about 25 minutes. Gradually baking the pudding in the hot-water bath will give it an extra-smooth texture.
After 25 minutes, check the inside of the cups before removing them from the oven. Gently shake the cup to see if the surface jiggles without breaking. Now, the custard is set. Let it sit to cool at room temperature and then chill the pudding in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Now, the pudding and caramel sauce are fully chilled. Pour the caramel sauce on top without unmolding and enjoy the scrumptious custard pudding.
Compared to our previous custard pudding, increasing the ratio of egg yolk to the egg white and adding the heavy cream give the pudding a smoother texture and richer flavor.
If you use relatively thin oven-safe cups, the baking time may be slightly reduced for best results.