Fusion Indian caramel flan

Caramel, the name itself will get you imagining a beautiful golden river of sugar . Endless are the desserts which have caramel incorporated into them. Its a world wide favourite. Be it the salted caramel icecream or the luscious flans. Not to forget the alpenliebe caramel candy or the carmello cadbury chocolate both my favourites. Call this a flan, or a caramel custard , or a pudding, this dessert is always drool worthy.
Today’s recipe is my version of the caramel flan with a indian twist to it.

I have added cardamon and saffron with rose essence highlighting the pudding.
Recalling childhood days when we did not own an oven. Mummy made this pudding by steaming it . Of course she did not call it a flan, instead named it as bedhe ji pudding( egg pudding). And she always used cardamom as a flavoring . I never tried making this delicious pudding, only because either my mom or my sister always made this on my trips to India. This custard is also very popular in Parsi cuisine, called the lagna nu custard, normally served during weddings. The Parsi variation is more richly made. One of the best caramel custard pudding,I have ever eaten would be at the Dorabjee and sons Restaurant which is situated at dastur meher road , Pune. You can find the best authentic Parsi food here.
In recent years I have tried many receipes to get a good caramel flan, and this method is top rated in my diary.This flan be made by either baking it in an oven using a water bath, or by steaming it directly in a steamer.
Do try this recipe and relish it cold.

Ingredients
3 cups of full fat milk
200 ml condensed milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs( at room temperature)
1/2 tsp saffrons strands soaked in a little hot water
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp rose essence

Method
1. Boil milk and condensed milk together with the cardamom powder. Once it boils, shut the flame and keep aside. Cool completely.
2. To make the caramel, put 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a pan and heat on high heat untill sugar melts and starts browning .At this point lower the heat and allow the sugar to turn to a beautiful golden brown liquid. Try not to stir in between. Transfer this caramel to either one big oven proof dish or divide it into 2 dishes. Allow the caramel to cool.
3. Beat 4 eggs lightly and add to the cool milk mixture. Mix well and strain this mixture.
4. Add the saffron liquid and rose essence to the milk and egg mixture.
5. Pour into the caramelized bowls , cover the bowls with aluminium foil .
Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees celcius for 60 mins.
Cool completely before transferring to the fridge..

Overturn the caramel onto a serving platter at the time of serving.

Garnish with sliced almonds and pistas.

* For the water bath baking, I put the flan dishes in a baking tray and poured hot water into the tray , to come upto 1/4 level of the dishes.
Using this method, the flan does not dry up and retains its moisture.

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