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Pudim de Leite Condensado (Brazilian Crème Caramel)
A Brazilian favourite made from rich condensed milk.
Take me to the Recipe
Arguably the most popular desert in Brazil…
Next time you are speaking to a Brazilian friend, ask them which dessert (sobremesa) do they miss most from Brazil. I am willing to bet that 8 times out of 10 they say Pudim!
This dessert is so popular because everyone has a mother, grandmother, aunty or wife who makes the perfect pudim. It is what we would call ‘comfort food’, something you eat when you feel a bit out-of-sorts or under-the-weather. Perfect with a cup of hot coffee. Everyone feels happy after a slice of pudim.
A Quick History
Pudim originated in Europe in the 19th century and is a tropical version of the Crème Caramel. Crème Caramel is a simple milk-based sweet dessert that restaurants found to be easy to prepare, and less likely to spoil if not consumed immediately. People in tropical regions were especially attracted to these qualities. However, before modern refrigeration, it was very difficult to transport and store fresh milk in the tropical heat.
This changed when the industrial method of preserving milk through evaporation, adding sugar, and then canning became available. The resulting product came to be known as Condensed milk and it became the hero of the tropics.
In Brazil, condensed milk was very popular. Restaurants and households discovered it to be a perfect sweetener and milk substitute in their sweets deserts.
Out of this was born a tropical friendly crème caramel, renamed, pudim de leite condensado.
Estou com saudade de Pudim!
I first learned about pudim from a Brazilian friend of would always say how much she missed it. Whenever we went to the Brazilian cafe in my neighbourhood, she would always insist on ordering a slice of pudim. So, when she and her boyfriend hosted a lunch at their house I decided to learn how to make pudim and surprise her with it. When I acquired the recipe I was shocked at how simple and quick it is to make. Well, the pudim was very popular. In fact, she loved it so much that she told me the next morning she woke up at 6 am, jumped out of bed and ran to the fridge to eat the last slice. She was worried her boyfriend or housemate might decide to gobble it down for breakfast.
I have since made this recipe dozens of times and all my Brazilian friends make sure to request that I bring a pudim to all of their parties and churrascos. So here is the recipe for you to try for yourself. The video above is demonstration in real life; however, please note the method below is slightly different to the video above because I have improved it slightly since filming. The change can be found in the baking, I now recommend you use a bain-marie. So watch the video and read the instructions for the best advice.
How to cook Pudim de Leite Condensado
You will need:
- 2 x 395 gr cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 x cans of whole milk (use the condensed milk can to measure)
- 4 x eggs
- A vanilla pod (or Teaspoon of vanilla essence)
- 1.5 cups of sugar
- A blender or food processor
- 2.5 litre Pyrex round casserole container with the lid
- Baking tray large enough to fit the Pyrex casserole container in. This is used as the bain-marie.
- Small saucepan
- First, make the caramel: Place the sugar into the small saucepan and turn the stove to medium heat. You must be patient and wait for the sugar to start melting.
- Once the sugar begins to melt you must begin stirring the sugar continuously until it is completely melted and has become caramel. If it starts to smoke or burn (turning dark brown) in this process simply remove the saucepan from the heat and stir quicker. Do not walk away from this saucepan once you turn the heat on or risk burning and having to start again.
- Pour the caramel into your baking container and swirl it around so the base is completely covered with caramel. Then put aside while it cools.
- Turn on the oven and pre-heat on high.
- Now make the pudim mix: Add all the pudim mixture ingredients into the blender (eggs, milk, condensed milk and vanilla). Put on the lid, then blend the mixture using the lower speed. You want to blend it for about 2 minutes. The longer it blends the more air gets in, making the pudim much more delicate and enjoyable.
- Pour the pudim mix into the baking container. It will be a layer above the caramel sauce (which should be quite cool and hard now). replace the container’s lid, or cover with aluminium foil.
- Place the baking container, containing the pudim mixture, into a baking tray filled with water. The water level should only ever the caramel layer and go no higher. This is a bain-marie and will help prevent the caramel from burning. **Note: In the video, I skip this step. Technically, you can skip this step because I believe people only do it because this pudim was originally cooked on the stove in a large bain-marie, in a similar fashion to how we boil Christmas plum puddings. However, the pudim does seem to cook a bit better in the oven when in the water, but this is just from my observations**.
- Place the pudim (with or without bain-marie) into the hot oven. Turn the oven down to 180c and bake for 30 minutes.
- Serving the pudim: Once the pudim has cooked through, you can remove from the oven. It will be very hot and perhaps very wobbly, this will give the impression that it is undercooked. Don’t worry, it will remain very soft while it is hot but will firm as it cools. Now you need to leave it to cool for 30 minutes. Once it is cool enough to touch place the pudim in the fridge. However, it is very important you leave it in the fridge with the lid on, overnight. The pudim will only set once it is chilled right through to the centre. You could get away with serving after only being 8 hours in the fridge BUT you risk it being warm in the centre still, thus making it unstable and likely to collapse while serving.
- Once you are ready to serve the pudim, you will need to remove it from the baking container. This is simple to do if you follow the correct procedure. Firstly, use a sharp knife to separate the pudim from the container. Pierce the knife between the surface edge of the pudim and the wall of the container. Slide the knife along the wall until the pudim is no longer stuck to the wall. Don’t stick the knife down deeper than a centimetre. Next, pick up the pudim container and tilt it towards you by 45 degrees. Use gravity and the weight of the pudim to separate itself completely from the wall of the container. Do not tilt long or steep enough for the pudim to begin sliding out of the container. Rotate the container, repeating this process until separation is complete.
- Obtain the plate or platter you wish to serve the pudim on. Place it the surface of the plate over the open baking container and pudim. Grip the container and the plate together with your two hands of either side. In a single motion, flip the plate and pudim upside down and place on the bench so the plate is positioned correctly and the pudim container is upsidedown on the plate. Gravity should make the pudim fall out of the container and on to the plate. However, if it is stuck just give it a few small shakes to help it dislodge.
- There will be plenty of hard caramel remaining in the container. Scrape out as much caramel syrup as you can and pour it over the pudim. Aprovite!