Smooth and Silky Japanese Purin

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If you’ve not tried a Japanese Purin, you’re missing out. This smooth and silky pudding covered in bittersweet caramel sauce is a simple and very comforting dessert. Every melt-in-the-mouth spoonful feels like a dream.

creme caramel flan half on serving plate

Japanese Purin is one of my favourite dessert to eat in Japan. It is very popular in the country and is widely available. They can be easily found in many kissaten (coffee shops) and konbini (convenience stores). Argh… How I miss Japan and miss eating Purin in Japan. Somehow this pudding is not commonly available in Singapore, so I decided I should make my own.

creme caramel flan on serving plate

What is Japanese Purin?

Purin is the Japanese version of creme caramel pudding or sometimes known as flan. Basically a soft, smooth and creamy custard covered in bittersweet caramel sauce. Going back to its origin, creme caramel originated from Europe but is now widely made and enjoyed by people all over the world. As a result, the pudding goes by many names in different countries. For instance in Vietnam, it is known as Banh Flan. Whereas in Philippines, it is referred to as Leche Flan.

The recipes are all quite similar. You can bake the custard in the oven over low heat and a water bath or steam the pudding on a stovetop. Also, the pudding can be made in various sizes. The most common are individual servings made in round ramekins. Sometimes they are baked in a larger mould and served in slices.

This recipe is one that I like the most in terms of texture and mouthfeel. Sometimes, I make them in individual round ramekins but for this post, I chose to make in a loaf pan so you can see how the pudding sliced up beautifully. Either ways, they are equally beautiful and delicious.

Japanese purin on plate with few slices

Ingredients for Japanese Purin

Purin only requires a few basic ingredients. In fact, you probably already have most of them in your pantry.

  • Sugar – to make caramel sauce and to sweeten the custard. Any white sugar is fine. I use granulated sugar in this recipe.
  • Water – add small amount of water to the sugar to cook the caramel. Once the caramel reaches the desired colour, add another splash of water thinning down the caramel, turning it into a sauce.
  • Eggs – This recipe uses 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk. The additional egg yolk adds richness to the custard. Use the best eggs you can get. I like to use pasteurised eggs for custard base desserts for its neutral taste without the “fishy” odour that some normal eggs carry.
  • Milk – Since milk is one of the main ingredient, for this reason it is best to use the milk you enjoy most.
  • Cream – Small amount of cream adds a nice milky fragrance and creamy texture. I use Elle & Vire whipping cream.
  • Flavourings – This is optional but I love to add a bit of rum to my pudding to elevate the flavour. However, if you don’t consume alcohol or don’t have rum, you can replace with vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.

Japanese purin in cut slices

Tips to achieve silky smooth Japanese Purin

Japanese Purin is surprisingly easy to make. The key is in balancing the ratio of the ingredients to achieve the right texture and flavour. However, you don’t have to worry about ratio as I’ve got your back to a silky smooth custard with this recipe. The only slight challenging part is cooking the caramel to the desired colour. But no worries if you fail for the first time, just restart again till you get it right. The quantity is not a lot to begin with. In fact, once you master the caramel, you will want to make this dessert all the time.

The Caramel

Ideally the caramel should taste slightly bitter to compliment the sweet pudding. I recommend using a light colour pan to assist your judgement on the correct caramel colour. You should cook the caramel to a smoky point and a deep amber tone, like cognac. Importantly, you should watch the caramel closely and add the splash of water immediately to stop the cooking. The caramel will splash and splatter once water is added. Hence for safety purpose, do wear a glove when pouring the water to prevent burns.

caramel sauce in pot

The Custard

Whisk the eggs gently to avoid too many tiny bubbles. Once sugar is added to the eggs, whisk immediately to prevent it from “cooking” the egg yolks. Whisk gently until the sugar blend evenly with the eggs.

eggs and sugar in mixing bowl

Let’s talk a bit of science. Sugar should be added to the eggs, not the milk. This is because sugar raises the temperature for coagulation when mix with eggs, so that when you pour hot milk into the mix, this combination will prevent the hot milk from “cooking” the eggs and allows for smooth temper.

It is important to strain the custard over a fine mesh strainer to filter out impurities for a silky smooth texture. However, if there are any tiny bubbles floating on top, you can easily remove them by dabbing with kitchen paper.

custard in pyrex cup

The Baking

Baking the pudding at lower temperature 120C for a longer time works best for me. Also it is important to bake the pudding in a water bath with water level around half of the mould. Cover the mould with a sheet of aluminium foil with multiple holes poke through to allow steam to escape. This step will prevent a skin from forming on the surface of the pudding during baking.

Unmoulding

Chill the purin for minimum 4 hours or overnight before unmoulding. The easiest way to unmould is to soak the base of the mould in hot water for a few seconds and run a thin knife around the edges to loosen up. Finally, place the serving plate upside down on the pudding and flip over. Shake the mould a little. This way, the pudding should fall out quite easily.

Japanese purin cut slices

This recipe is designed for a pudding that is firm enough to unmold and be able to slice through cleanly like tofu yet remain soft for a creamy mouthfeel. Perfect for a crowd!

Japanese purin cut slices

Smooth and Silky Japanese Purin

This smooth and silky pudding covered in bittersweet caramel sauce is a simple and very comforting dessert. Every melt-in-the-mouth spoonful feels like a dream.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Chilling Time 4 hrs
Course Dessert
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

  • 8cm by 17cm loaf pan
  • or 6 small ramekins

Ingredients
  

Caramel Sauce

  • 50 grams sugar
  • 10 ml water to cook the caramel
  • 20 ml water

Custard

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 45 grams sugar
  • 210 ml milk
  • 40 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tsp rum optional

Instructions
 

Caramel Sauce

  • Place sugar and 10ml of water in a small light colour saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolve. Keep cooking until the mixture turns smoky with a dark amber colour, like cognac.
  • Add 20ml of water all at once to thin the sauce. Remove from heat. (The mixture will splash and splatter. Wear a glove for protection)
  • Pour caramel sauce into mould. Place the mould with the caramel sauce in the fridge to set.
    caramel sauce in baking pan

Custard

  • Preheat the oven to 120C. Set aside a bigger pan for water bath.
  • Place milk and cream in a milk pan and bring to a small boil.
    milk in milk pan
  • Combine eggs, egg yolk and sugar in a medium bowl. Gently whisk to combine well. Gradually add hot milk to the egg mixture, keep whisking as you pour. Add rum. Mix well and pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
  • Remove any bubbles by dabbing with a kitchen paper. Pour batter into the mould. Place the mould into a bigger pan. Fill hot water in the bigger pan to half the level of the pudding mould. Cover with a piece of aluminium foil with holes poke through to allow steam to escape.
    Japanese purin covered in foil
  • Bake for 45 to 55 mins. When done, the pudding should look set and jiggle in the middle when you shake it.
    Japanese purin in baking pan before bake
  • Leave to cool completely before chilling in the refrigerator for minimum 4 hours or overnight.
  • To unmould, place the bottom of the pan in hot water for a few seconds. Run a thin knife around all the sides of the mould. Cover the top with the serving plate and invert the mould. Shake to release the pudding.
  • Slice and serve! Keeps well for 3 daqys in the refrigerator.
Keyword easy custard pudding

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If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these recipes as well:

White Tea Jelly, Lychee and Vanilla Panna Cotta

Tea-flavoured Creme Brûlée

Baileys Chocolate Luxe Panna Cotta

 

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