Simple No-Bake Purin (Custard Pudding) recipe that’s silky, creamy, and rich in flavors. Try this easy and popular Japanese dessert and enjoy it with friends!
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 me with our favorite No Bake Purin (ゼラチンプリン). It’s a popular chilled dessert in Japan and I’m excited to share this easy homemade recipe with you.
What is Japanese Purin?
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 Purin (焼きプリン) – Baked in a bain-marie (water bath) in the oven. A hot water bath allows this delicate dessert to cook more evenly and gently, preventing cracking, curdles, or small bubbles around the edges.
- Mushi Purin (蒸しプリン) – Cooked on a stovetop in a steamer or in a bain-marie in a pot.
- Gelatin Purin (ゼラチンプリン) – aka No Bake Purin; Not baked or cooked on a stovetop; a custard is solidified with gelatin! The majority of packaged purin you can get at supermarkets are mostly made this way. Have you tried the popular Pucchin Purin (プッチンプリン) by Glico?
You can find my recipe for the #1 and #2 methods here.
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:
What is No-Bake Purin?
Japanese “Purin” that you can purchase at supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan is all made with gelatin. We sometimes call this type of purin Gelatin Purin (ゼラチンプリン). They are not baked or steamed. If you’re a big fan of those packaged Japanese custard puddings like Pucchin Purin (プッチンプリン), today’s recipe is for you!
The texture of Gelatin Purin is similar to gelatin desserts like panna cotta, French dessert Bavarian Cream, or Bavaria (ババロア). It’s silky smooth and slightly firm, with a gentle wobble.
The best part about Gelatin Purin is that you can enjoy the silky panna cotta texture with rich custard flavors, just like creme caramel or flan.
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.
- The 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 to make 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 No-Bake Purin recipe.
No-Bake Purin (Custard Pudding)
For the Caramel Sauce
- 2 Tbsp boiling water
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
For the Custard
- 4 sheets gelatin powder/sheet (I use these gelatin sheets and love them; 4 sheets are roughly 0.35 oz, 10 g; or use 1 pouch of Knox gelatin powder (7 g, about 2½ tsp), which should be enough)
- ¼ cup water
- 4 large egg yolks
- 80 g sugar (⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp)
- 1¾ cups whole milk (divided)
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Gather all the ingredients. You will also need 8 4-oz ramekins (4 oz is ½ cup, 120 ml).
To Make the Caramel Sauce
- Prepare some boiling water (you‘ll need only 2 Tbsp) and a cold damp towel (for Step 4).
- Combine ⅔ cup sugar and 2 Tbsp water in a saucepan over medium heat. Gently shake the saucepan to evenly distribute the sugar and do not touch until the mixture starts to turn golden brown. Gently swirl and tilt the pan again to distribute the mixture to have even color until it becomes an amber color (like a darker honey color), about 6 minutes.
- Immediately remove from the heat to a cold damp towel and add 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 the excess water and no need to dry).
- While the 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).
To Make the Custard
- In a small bowl, cut 4 sheets gelatin powder/sheet into thin ½ inch (1.3 cm) strips. Add ¼ cup water and set aside for 5–6 minutes until the gelatin “blooms“ or expands.
- If you’re using powdered gelatin, combine 3 tsp (10 g) gelatin powder and ¼ cup water and let stand for 1 minute. Then microwave on high for 30–40 seconds and stir. Now, 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 it aside. If somehow you end up taking a long 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 a double boiler again.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 large egg yolks and 80 g sugar (⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp) until pale and creamy.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 200 ml (roughly 1 cup) milk (from 1¾ cups whole milk; keep the rest for later) over medium heat until the milk is warm to the touch.
- 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 (keep an eye on the pot ALL THE TIME; 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 the edges of the pan, or reaches 160ºF (71ºC).
- Add in the gelatin mixture and mix well. Remove from the heat.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.
- Add the rest of the milk (200 ml), ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream, and 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 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 or toothpick 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.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2–3 days. Consume soon as the quality degrades.
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.