Purin is a flan-like cold custard dessert in Japan. The name “Purin” obviously comes from “pudding” (perhaps more obvious in Japanese), but it is not the same thing as the gooey pudding in the US at all. It has a firmer texture similar to Mexican flan and also has caramel sauce on top. It is a very basic sweet but everyone in Japan adores it.
There are a lot of western (mostly French) cake shops everywhere in Japan. Some cake shops sell more delicate and sophisticated concoctions, and others simpler, everyday snack types. Wherever you go, though, you will definitely find Purin in most shops in Japan. There are often millions of new cakes and other desserts to choose from there, but people always come back to something they ate in childhood. Purin is exactly like that. It is a comfort dessert for Japanese people.
There is an instant Purin mix you can buy at grocery stores in Japan, and it’s very popular, too. Add some milk, mix and chill, and there you are, easy Purin. This is a different kind of Purin though. Gelatin is used in this type of Purin. Because of the gelatin, it has a texture more like Jello rather than egg custard. It is very easy to make and tastes good in its own way, but we think baked custard is much better.
You can make Purin at home, from scratch, and that’s the best kind. It’s really not hard to make at all. Ingredients are so simple, only milk eggs, sugar and some vanilla. Our Purin is baked in a water bath in the oven, so it is hard to overcook. It may be a little more work to make than going to the store, but the outcome is not comparable to the store-bought. Try our Purin, and I’m sure you will like it!
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 3 Tbsp (50ml) water
- 2 cups plus 1 Tbsp (500ml) milk
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a heavy pot, put in sugar and water, but do not stir. Put it on the stove at medium heat until the water and sugar turns to dark brown. Pour the syrup into 8 small (3" diameter x 2" high) pudding cups or ramekins (may have some leftover).
- Heat milk until just before boiling. Whisk together eggs and sugar, and add hot milk very slowly to avoid eggs curdling. Strain the mixture to make the liquid smooth, and add vanilla. Pour the mixture over the hardened syrup.
- In a baking pan such as 13x9x3, place purin cups, and pour hot water around the cups (not in the cups!) about 3/4 up the side of the cups.
- Bake at 350 F for 40-45 mins or until custard sets.
- Refrigerate at least 3 hours or preferably overnight. You could decorate with whipped cream and cherries before serving if you wish.