Caramel Custard is a simple, delicate and sophisticated dessert from the French origin. The gooey, rich custard sits beautifully on the plate, adorned with oozing- smooth, luscious and perfectly golden brown caramel. DSB takes caramel custard as an inspiration and fuses it with my love for cheesecakes and we get something so wonderful – caramel custard cheesecake off course :)
This dessert is easy to make and wonderful to taste. The simplicity in its looks is a pure sign of elegance and sophistication. I for one had tried this dessert once in India and had instantly fallen in love with it. The name being caramel custard, i was presuming it to be something similar to a butterscotch ice cream look alike with flowy custard having bits of chewy caramel toffee bits in it. Oh boy, was i wrong ! When the plate arrived, it was a pure beauty to look at. It was so perfect and to describe in french, “magnifiquement belle” (magnificently beautiful). I for one just wanted to keep looking at the dish and not take a bite so as to preserve it from distorting by my eager spoon.
As i cut through the dessert, the texture of the custard was jelly like, firm but delicate and had a smooth milky feel. The caramel flowed flawlessly over my spoon and into my mouth. Initially i felt that the custard was only slightly sweet but then the caramel hit my taste buds and it was mesmerizing. The slightly toasted but sweet taste striked the right balance with the custard and completely complimented each other.
Since then, i always dreamt of making this delicacy on my own but somehow i always presumed that this dish would be tedious in preparation and would need a lot of dexterity and finesse in handling the dessert. Browsing through a couple of recipes on the internet gave me a little confidence to take up the challenge but my biggest fear was about to come true. All the authentic recipes of this french classic used eggs in the preparation. I personally do not eat eggs and i was obviously a little disappointed to know that this dessert was the “egg essential” dessert. Well at that moment i thought that this was not a recipe i would ever try, forget master.
Now, few months later, a friend (Sargam Manjawala) and a DSB follower asked me for a favour. I was so excited to have a follower ask me to construct a recipe, i instantly said yes. To my surprise, she said she wanted me to try make a no-egg/no-gelatin/no-agar agar caramel custard recipe. My fear and escape from this dish was back, this time as a challenge. Off course i took it up my sleeves and after many random trials, i got it right this time !
Since DSB is all about fusion and creative exploration, what started as a custard became cheesecake in my thought half way. The result was not only as good looking but so pleasing that i was overwhelmed.
Caramel Custard Cheesecake
Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes + chilling time
Makes : 2 servings
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 300 gms full fat, thick hung yoghurt (can use greek yoghurt) or cream cheese (i have used yoghurt for this recipe. You will need approximately 400 gms of regular yoghurt to create 300 gms of thick hung yoghurt)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 200 ml condensed milk (sweetened. In case use unsweetened, add 4 tablespoons of sugar to the recipe)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- We will start with making the caramel from the sugar. For this, take a heavy bottom pan and add the sugar to it. Keep the heat at medium and let the sugar melt. Here it is important not to stir the caramel but slightly toss the pan once the sugar starts to melt a little (it would take the sugar about 1-2 minutes before you see any sugar melting, so be patient). It would take about 7-10 minutes for all the sugar to melt completely … just keep stirring the pan so that the sugar does not start to burn.
- Once all the sugar is melt, turn off the flame and instantly pour the caramel into pre-greased bowl (i prefer ramekin bowls/ silicon molds). Since the caramel is hot at this moment, the caramel will spread inside the bowl evenly. Let it rest for about 10 minutes to cool down.
- In a bowl, take room temperature thick hung yoghurt and whisk it till it is smooth in texture. It is best to hung the yoghurt for 3-4 hours to take out maximum water from the yoghurt. You may like to use cream cheese instead but i preferred hung yoghurt to shun away some extra calories from this dish.
- Next add the other ingredients for filling to the bowl and fold in gently. The filling is ready. Pour this filling gently into the caramel bowl. At this moment, you can either bake it in the oven for 15 mins at 180 degrees or let it refrigerate for 5-6 hours for it to set. The dessert is ready.
There would be difference in the texture of the finished dish in both the cases. The baked filling would be crusty on the top, slightly firm but soft inside whereas the refrigerated filling version will be soft throughout and might not be too firm. If you want to make a firm version while refrigerating, you would probably need to add some gelatin in it.
To serve, release the sides of the filling from the bowl using a knife or a silicon spoon. Now place a plate on top of the bowl and carefully invert it to release the dessert off the bowl. In either cases, the sugar caramel will loosen out from bottom of the bowl and easily transfer on the serving dish.
It’s pure bliss to bite into this dessert. As you can clearly see from the pic, i actually forgot to take a pic and after the first bite trial and second bite in spoon, i realized this was definitely a dish i wanted to share with my DSB community. The best part about this dessert is that it has a great consistency and texture which resembles a lot like the caramel custard i once ate and fell in love with. For me, the tangy taste the yoghurt provides to this dish is “cherry on the cake” and works great with the caramel sweetness. Do give this recipe a try !!
P.S – Thanks Sargam for the request ! I got to make something so awesome