Kolkata,  Recipes

Pudding of Love | Mum-In-Law’s Special Caramel Custard

Again a folder full of unpublished drafts – each draft vying for equal attention. How could this delicious wonder remained lying in the folder – all because Mum-in-law wasn’t sure about the proportions of this recipe. Like most recipes of hers. And like most mums of her generations. No ifs and buts, no guessing… the measurements have to be perfect. And hence, the perfect recipe for a perfect pudding, oozing out love – the motherly love. The love that went into the making of her epic pickles and the same love that went into the hours of standing and finally goading the neighborhood Phuchkawala for the recipe of the perfect Phuchka! Everything needs to be perfect. Unlike my kitchen where everything is experimental – random recipes, fusion cooking (ex – Shondesh Pudding, Rasgulla Macapuno or Mustard Mashed Potato) and a lot of traditional cooking with a non-traditional approach and cheat methods (Bhapa Mishti Doi or Mustard Salmon). This pudding is very special… everytime Ma turns it upside down from the bowl in which it has been set, it settles lovingly into a swirly pool of caramel sauce. And as the knife slices through the pudding, the caramel sauce drips down the summit and tears through like love gushing out like lava. Ma, I so want this creamy caramel pudding – I mean, #rightnow!

Kolkata’s Club Culture

Interestingly, although this Caramel Custard Pudding can’t be described as a part of traditional Bengali cuisine, it has to be included if we discuss the ‘cuisine in Bengal’. It reflects the legacy left behind by the Colonial Raj as can be found in the menus of all the British clubs that are still an intrinsic part of Kolkata’s heritage. During the British Raj, these clubs were instituted by the British with the purpose of providing sports, entertainment and a familiar environment to the British people who had left their home shores and were working in these colonies. Initially meant only for the ‘white skinned’ people and select Indians like the Maharajas, gradually these clubs started giving out admissions to prominent Indian personalities and select families. Even today, the membership to some of these clubs are quite a coveted matter – for example, The Calcutta Club,  Bengal Club or the Tolly Club. And to this day, the menu in the ‘propah’ club sections of some clubs are very Continental, and served in a style befitting the Raj. And Caramel Custard Pudding duly signs off a prestigious club dining experience with panache!

Caramel Custard Pudding in Indian Cuisine

The Anglo-Indian culture has had a very strong influence in many regional cuisines in India and the Cream Custard is perhaps, one of the those most popular recipes to have been adopted whole heartedly. While in Bengal it was the Anglo Indian influence that brought in Caramel Custard, elsewhere in India, specially the coastal areas of Western India, it was due to the Portugese influence – for example, in Goa, Daman and Diu. The Caramel Custard has formed a huge part of the Parsi cuisine – the Laganu Custard that is so famously served during Parsi weddings (a great sample of it in Dubai is at Kebab Bistro) – reminiscent of a thick crust over our regular custard, the preparation of this dish is quite elaborate. Milk is boiled along with sugar until it is reduced to half. When the mixture cools down, eggs are beaten into it along with dry fruits and added nutmeg flavour. This is then baked to form a thick golden crusty surface. The Caramel Custard also has its versions in Mangalore, Goa and in many places in Western India, quite naturally amongst the Anglo-Indians. When we visited Goa last time, the one dessert that always reigned supreme amongst all the other desserts was definitely the Cream Caramel. It is there, that I realised how good Ma makes it, and also how easily it can be made at home.

Caramel Custard Pudding

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Category – Dessert; Cuisine type – Anglo-Indian


1 lt full cream Milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs

For caramelising sugar
2 tsp sugar


  1. Put 1 tsp water and 2 tsp sugar in a flat bottomed pan. Heat it and let the sugar burn. Take off from fire and cool.
  2. Boil the milk and reduce it in 3/4. Add sugar and boil again for 15 minutes, stirring continuously. Cool it.
  3. Caramelise the sugar.
  4. Whip 2 eggs in a separate bowl and mix into the cool milk. Pour the whole mixture into the caramelised bowl. Cover the bowl with a aluminum foil and place this on a larger tray filled with water (1/2 inch deep). Steam or bake the entire thing in a preheated oven for 20 minutes (350ºF or 175ºC). Let it set and cool in the fridge.
  5. While serving take a bit of care to pour it upside down on a deep but a flat bottomed dish.

Anglo-Indian cuisine is the distinct cuisine of the Anglo-Indian community. A lot of dishes are derived from traditional British cuisine, but which has been modified by the addition of Indian-style spices, such as cumin and red chillies. Fish and meat are often cooked in curry form with Indian vegetables. Anglo-Indian food often involves use of coconut, yogurt, and almonds. Roasts and curries, rice dishes, and breads all have a distinctive flavour. Some well-known Anglo-Indian dishes are salted beef tongue, kedgeree and of course the mulligatawny soup. More here in Wiki.)

The bowl Ma uses to make her Caramel Custard does give the unique shape to her pudding – and I wish that I had thought of capturing that. It does in effect lends the charm to the undulations and the topography of her Custard – the geographical dynamics of it. But then, not everything can be attributed to geography. Like, how she carries Potols/Parwals or the red chillies that grow in her garden – all wrapped up, packed and finding some space in her suitcase, when she visits us here in Dubai. In fact, the amount of food that both the Mums (my own Mum and my royal mum-in-law) brings for us, deserves a separate post by itself. From fried fish to bottles of Ghee (Jharna, a particular brand of Ghee), from Nolen Gurer Shondesh to Rasgulla –  oh, please let’s keep that for another day – for a long epic post of ‘love flying all the way from Kolkata alibi food’. For today, it’s the Caramel Custard that deserves all the attention – the pudding of love that she creates specially for her children, and for which I had been waiting for her to come back to me with the perfect measurements for her perfect recipe. And it is by destiny that my post coincided with the Mother’s Day in the UK!

Unblogging it all… Ishita

Disclaimer: All pictures have been taken by me unless mentioned otherwise. Please note that this post is not a sponsored post and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from these posts. You can catch my daily food and travel journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Related Recipes:
Shondesh/Sandesh Pudding
Notun Gurer Payesh/Rice Pudding & Remembering My Dida
Gajorer Payesh/Carrot Pudding… Happy Diwali!
Bhapa Mishti Doi and A Food Safari of Bengal

Related Reads:
Anglo Indians {Wikipedia}
Creme Caramel {Wikipedia}
Club Culture of Calcutta {IndianProfile.com}


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