Japanese Caramel Custard (Purin : プリン)
In the world of desserts, many cultures share similar concepts; they are just called differently. Caramel custard is one of them; it’s called Crème au Caramel in French, Flan in Spanish or Purin in Japanese. Regardless of the name, the basic elements remain the same; eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla are the reasons for the deliciousness. Whether it’s baked or no-bake, it’s still made its way to my comfort food list. I’d never tried a no-bake version until one day my lovely Japanese friend, Midori, introduced no-bake Purin to me.
Midori and I were neighbors when we lived in the Houston medical center. Now she and her husband live in New York. When we were neighbors, we liked to share our cultures through food and I loved it. I would knock on her door with flowered chive cakes, Thai curry, or Thai desserts in hand. A couple days later she would come to my door with Japanese rice balls or some other treats, and it became our routine. Sometimes we cooked and ate together exchanging our life and food stories. What a wonderful memory!
Among all the food Midori generously shared with me, Purin is my favorite. I remembered the day I opened the door to accept this sweet, silky smooth and rich custard. Like a kid with a Christmas present, I quickly ran to the utensil drawer and pulled out a spoon. I was more than ready to open my present. The light golden brown caramel sauce was poured over the cold custard as instructed by Midori. The spoon slowly passed through the custard effortlessly. It had very light and smooth texture unlike other custards I’ve tried.
The texture of Purin reminds me of my favorite savory Japanese egg custard, Chawanmuchi. The moment I put Purin in my mouth, I just let it dissolve, closing my eyes as it releases the tastes to my palate. “I need to learn how to make this,” I told myself. I texted Midori right away asking and begging, “When can we get together to make Purin?”. Now I can make Purin for myself. Remember that many things can become our new favorites. Just keep your mind open and willing to try new things. And if you’ve never tried Purin, take a chance. I want to know what you think.