Piece of life
For those who don’t know yet, my husband is Brazilian. So, I have been discovering the Brazilian culture, including its gastronomy, has been many years. Concerning desserts, I am not always amused. I must say that Brazilians have a heavy hand on sugar. Usually, I take advantage of our vacations to give the cakes a break and enjoy the fantastic local fruits. Although, there are a few small specialties, especially the “Bolo de Rolo.” This specialty from my husband’s region consists of a rolled cake alternating skinny layers of dough and guava paste (other versions with chocolate or Dulce de Leche are also available nowadays). Pudim de Leite, above all, is a weakness for my husband, a memory from his childhood; just like his father, he loves his desserts too!
About the caramel cream (pudim de leite)
Pudim de Leite is a traditional, unavoidable dessert in Brazil. Therefore, there rarely may be an event where this dessert is not offered.
It is a dessert that is extremely easy to prepare. It looks like a caramel cream or some flan. It reminds me of Flanby. Well, you got the idea… The slight difference with the recipes that we usually know is that the Pudim de Leite is made with sweetened condensed milk.
The principle is simple: on the one hand, we prepare a caramel (which will cover the mould bottom). On the other hand, we mix sweetened condensed milk, milk and eggs. That’s all! However, you will have to wait a few hours before dipping your spoon in it. It needs some rest in the refrigerator (ideally overnight) before you can enjoy it.
Sometimes, there is a minor difficulty in this dessert: de-moulding! But with these little tips, it will be effortless.
When getting out of the refrigerator, the caramel may be stuck to the mould’s bottom, and it is impossible to de-mould the Pudim de Leite as it is. Solution: Place the mould’s bottom in boiling water and leave it for a few minutes. This will soften the caramel and allow you to de-mould the pudding.
Softly press the edges of the pudim to loosen it from the mould wall. Then, take the mould and shake it in short, firm strokes from right to left. The pudim will wobble, and you should feel it unleash from the mould wall.
Put a plate over the mould (with high edges to avoid getting the caramel on the floor), then flip it over. The pudim de leite should be on the plate, safe and sound!
Which mould to use?
Traditionally, pudim de leite is made in a chimney mould (I mean, there is a hole in the middle of the mould). However, you can use a Bundt cake mould, for example. This allows in getting more homogeneous cooking. If not, you can use any mould available.
The cooking is done in a bain-marie. So, it may take quite a while, necessary to take around 1 hour. To make a bain-marie, you just have to place a dish filled with water in the oven and place your pudim mould on it.
But for those lucky people, like me, who have an Instant Pot, use it for this recipe. The pudim will be cooked in about 20 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, the pudim will still be shaky (but not liquid). This is normal. It will firm up while resting in the refrigerator.
Cooking time will vary greatly depending on your oven and the pudim consistency you like. I prefer it firm, so I cook it for 20 minutes in the Instant Pot (high-pressure option). For a softer texture, program the cooking for 15 minutes. Set it aside 10 minutes before releasing the pressure and opening the Instant Pot at the end of the cooking time. Be careful. It will be hot!
Brazilian Caramel Cream (pudim de leite)
- Chimney mold
- 1 can/box sweetened condensed milk
- 2 measures whole milk (take the condensed milk can/box)
- 3 eggs
Pour le caramel
- 100 g sugar
- Place a big cooking plate in the oven, and pour water in it (to reach around half of the chimney mold height)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
For the caramel
- Put half of the sugar in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat.
- When the sugar starts to melt down, add its second part. Keep cooking until you get a caramel (Attention: not too dark, to avoid bitterness).
- Advice: do not stir the sugar during the caramel cooking. Avoid that it burns and to gets homogeneous cooking, you can slightly stir the pan by softly rotating your wrist.
- Pour the caramel at the mold bottom and spread it around.
For the cream
- Put the sweetened condensed milk, the eggs and the milk in a bowl. Stir this mixture with a hand mixer (or a blender if you have one).
- Pour the mixture over the caramel.
- Cover the mold with aluminum foil paper.
- Take the mold to the baine-marie.
- Cook for about 1 hour, until the pudim is firm to the touch (it will still be shaky, that's normal (Attention: it should not be liquid. It will firm up after resting in the refrigerator)
- To cook it in the Instant Pot: Pour one cup of water into the bottom of the pot. Place the grill and the pan with the mixture (covered with the aluminum foil). Close and program it on high pressure mode. Cook it for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the pudim firmness. At the end of the cooking time, set it aside during 10 minutes before releasing the pressure manually.
- When cooked, take the pudim to the refrigerator during for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
- The next day, proceed the de-moulding. Remove the aluminum foil. To facilitate the removal from the mold, place the bottom of the mold in boiling water for a few minutes, this will allow the caramel to liquify. Gently press the entire edge of the pudim, including around the chimney, to loosen it from the mould wall. Finally, give the pan a few firm strokes, but gently. You should feel the pudim unleashing from the wall.
- Place a rimmed plate on the top of the mold (otherwise you'll have caramel all over the floor), then flip the whole thing over. The pudim should turn out without too much difficulty.