Growing up in Japan, three O’clock meant Oyatsu no Jikan, which means “time for snack” in Japanese. I ran home every day after school and looked forward to the day’s oyatsu (snack) that my mom prepared.
Once in a while, she would surprise my brother and I with our favorite Japanese Pudding (Purinプリン). It’s a popular chilled dessert in Japan and I’m share an easy homemade recipe with you.
What is Japanese Pudding?
It is a custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top. As it’s enjoyed throughout the world, you may call this dessert custard pudding, crème caramel, caramel custard, flan or a different name in your language.
Normally the custard, the mixture of sugar, eggs, and milk (and sometimes heavy cream), is baked in the oven in a bain-marie [ban mah-REE] (hot water bath) before being chilled.
In Japan, we have 3 types:
- Yaki Pudding (焼きプリン) – custard cooked in the oven.
- Mushi Pudding (蒸しプリン) – custard is cooked on a stove top in a steamer, or in a blain-marie in a pot or frying pan. Here’s my recipe.
- Pudding (プリン) – custard is hardened with gelatin. *Please note that people also call “Purin” even though it’s baked or steamed.
I also want to mention that Japanese Purin is sometimes called “custard pudding” (カスタードプリン) in Japan, especially when emphasizing the custard component and comparing with other types below:
Pudding – No-Bake Crème Caramel
Japanese Pudding “Purin” available at supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan is all made with gelatin. They are not baked or steamed. If you’re a big fan of those packaged Japanese puddings like Pucchin Purin (プッチンプリン), today’s recipe is for you!
The main difference from the classic Crème Caramel (Custard Pudding or Flan) is the texture. The texture of Purin made with gelatin is similar to gelatin desserts like panna cotta, or French dessert Bavarian Cream, or Bavaria (ババロア) (I hope the comparison helps). It’s silky smooth and slightly firm, with a gentle wobble.
The best part about pudding made with gelatin is that you can enjoy the silky panna cotta texture with rich custard flavors, just like the regular Crème Caramel.
This delicious dessert is a simple recipe; but it requires some techniques for the following important steps in the recipe.
- The caramel sauce has to have the right consistency so that when you invert the ramekin, the caramel sauce pours down nicely over the Purin.
- Gelatin has to be bloomed correctly so that the texture of Purin comes out perfectly.
- Custard mixture needs to be cooked to the correct temperature before being chilled.
I apologize for my lengthy recipe but I hope my tips are helpful. Please read the entire recipe at least once before trying making the recipe.
This post was originally shared in 2011 and it was my guest post shared on my friend Jill’s blog Mad About Macarons’ Egg Yolk Recipes series. Jill makes amazing macarons and she published her macaron cookbooks (Mad about Macarons! and Teatime in Paris!).
With the leftover egg whites from this recipe, you can make Jill’s macarons!
I hope you enjoy making this Japanese Pudding (Purin) recipe! If you make this recipe, snap a picture and hashtag it #JustOneCookbook. I love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter! Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
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- ⅔ cup (140 g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) water
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) boiling water
- 10 g (.35 oz) gelatin powder* or gelatin sheet** (= 1 Tbsp. gelatin powder or 4 gelatin sheets)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water
- 4 large egg yolks (Recipes using only egg whites)
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp. (80 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ cups (400 ml) milk (I use whole)
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 8 4-oz (1/2 cup, 120 ml) ramekins
- Double boiler (for gelatin sheets)
- Fine-mesh strainer
- Prepare 2 Tbsp. boiling water. You can either microwave 2 Tbsp. water or have 1 cup boiling water ready on a back burner (but will use 2 Tbsp.).
- Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high. Boil, without stirring, for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown (I personally like medium dark amber which has a little bit of bitterness). You can gently tilt the pan to distribute the color evenly as the sugar caramelizes.
- When the mixture turns into a nice amber color, immediately remove from heat. Pour in 2 Tbsp. boiling water. It will create a huge splash so please be careful. You can shield with a lid or wear oven mitts to protect your hands. Stir the saucepan to mix together. This will slightly thin out the caramel sauce and ensure that it doesn’t become too thick in the ramekins.
- Briefly dip the ramekins in hot water to warm up. This will prevent the caramel from solidifying (just shake off excess water and no need to dry).
- While caramel is still hot, evenly distribute the caramel among the 8 ramekins. Set aside and let the caramel thicken naturally (which is why the caramel will not mix with the custard mixture later).
- In a small bowl, cut 4 gelatin sheets into thin ½ inch (1.3 cm) strips. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) cold water and set aside for 5-6 minutes until the gelatin “blooms” (expands).
- If you’re using powder gelatin, combine 3 tsp. (10 g) gelatin powder and ¼ cup (60 ml) water and let stand for 1 minute. Then microwave on high for 30-40 seconds and stir. It’s ready to use.
- Once gelatin sheets are bloomed, bring 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water to simmer and place the bowl of gelatin mixture over the saucepan (double boiler). Make sure to use a heat resistant bowl which is larger than the opening of the saucepan. Steam will immediately warm up the glass bowl and start dissolving the gelatin. Turn off the heat and set aside. If somehow you end up taking a longer time to do the following process and the gelatin has set into a solid, you will need to melt it back into a liquid with double boiler again.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 200 ml (roughly 1 cup) milk over medium heat until the milk is warm to the touch (it’s half of the milk specified in the recipe).
- Slowly add the warm milk, whisking constantly (tempering the egg mixture).
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly (otherwise the mixture will burn on the bottom), until the mixture coats a spoon with a thin film or small bubbles start to form at edges of pan, or reaches 160F (71C).
- Add in the gelatin mixture and mix well. Remove from the heat.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl or a large cup with a pout.
- Add the rest of the milk (200 ml), heavy whipping cream, and vanilla and whisk all together. We’re adding them at the end to help the mixture cool down.
- Divide the custard into the 8 ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight or up to 3 days. The caramel on the bottom will become thinner after the moisture from the custard transfers to the caramel.
- To serve, run a small sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin to loosen the custard. Quickly invert each custard onto a plate. If it doesn’t release right away, gently shake the ramekin a few times to help it out.
** I buy these gelatin sheets.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
Editor’s Note: The original post was shared on June 10, 2011. The post is updated with new content, images, and video in September 2016.