Test Kitchen: Microwave Custard or Purin Pudding

Recipe credit/source:
Kirbie’s Cravings

  • You must cook at 500 watts, otherwise you will overcook the custard and caramel.
  • There are detailed tips and photos provided in the post, including photos of how the caramel sauce should look. 
  • To get the custard shape, you will need a microwave-safe ramekin, kitchen prep bowl, or similar bowl that can hold about 8 oz of liquid. You want a circular bowl with a flat bottom. The top of the bowl should be slightly wider than the bottom of the bowl, to achieve the pudding shape. (See photos and tips in the post for reference).

Utilizing 4 ingredients you can make your own Japanese style purin pudding (or custard pudding) at home in the microwave!

I was able to achieve the above pudding with some work on my microwave settings and trial and error (I burnt the caramel twice before getting it right). So while this is relatively simple to whip up you definitely need to follow a few keys steps in order to make it successfully. 

  1. Find the right bowl, the author suggests a ramekin that holds at least 1 cup of liquid if you have it. Otherwise a small bowl with a narrower base and wider top will also work. Just know whatever you choose will be the deciding factor on the shape of your pudding.
  2. Check your microwave wattage (total output can be found on a sticker usually placed just inside the door) and adjust it so that the max output is 500 watts (your microwave should have an adjustment button, mine says “cook power”, where you can adjust it to be at 100% or less power).
  3. Cooking times can still be tricky so I would personally recommend not cooking at the full time right off the bat. For instance with the caramel instead of cooking it at the full 2 minutes I did 2 increments of 45 seconds and then once more at 10 seconds (checking it and swirling it in between each time). Same with the custard portion, and even with this I would say if you check it and the top isn’t the desired consistency yet instead of cooking it for an additional 30 seconds (which is what the recipe recommended and I did) I would say to do it for 10-15 seconds and check it to ensure it doesn’t over cook. I think mine did overcook just slightly on the very bottom and edges due to the texture difference (creamy center and top with slightly eggy bottom and edges).
  4. Also have a knife handy in case it doesn’t drop right out when you turn your container upside down onto a plate, you can loosen up some of the edge. My bowl had slight ridges which is probably why I needed this, you might not.
  5. I let mine sit for close to 6 hours and the bottom of the bowl still kept some of my caramel that hadn’t mixed with water yet. From the photo above you can see there’s still plenty of caramel to go around on the plate, but keep this in mind for your own creation.

If you’d like to see an alternate version of the pudding click on the link to the left to go to Kirbie’s Cravings site, they share an alternate version of the pudding as well where you add the syrup after the fact (which supposedly makes a more even and instagram worthy presentation for the pudding but is less traditional). I decided to test out the more traditional version.

Read on for the recipe and if you make this share a photo on your social media with the #LibraryLife to get your photo featured on the home page of the blog. 

  • 120 ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp water
  • First, make the caramel sauce. Add 1 tbsp granulated sugar and 1 tsp water to your microwave safe bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves completely into the water.
  • Set your microwave cooking power to 500 watts. Microwave caramel sauce for 2 minutes. Stop microwave and then microwave at 10 second intervals (still at 500 watts), checking the sauce after each 10 seconds, until caramel starts to turn color. About half of the sauce should turn a light amber color while the rest remains clear. (It should take between 3 minutes to 3 1/2 minutes total cooking time including initial 2 minutes to reach this color).
  • Working quickly, remove sauce from microwave and swirl a few times until the color evens out. Allow caramel to harden.
  • While caramel is setting, make the custard. In a small bowl, add custard ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour custard through a fine mesh strainer and into bowl. The custard should sit on top of the hardened caramel.
  • Set your microwave to 500 watts cooking power again. Microwave custard for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The top of the custard should be hardened and no longer liquid. If custard is not completely cooked, you can cook another 30 seconds.
  • Place custard into the fridge to set for at least 2 hours or until completely chilled. While custard is chilling, it will develop some water around it. This is normal. Do not drain the water out because it will mix with the caramel sauce so that there is enough sauce to cover the custard and plate.
  • When ready to eat, place a plate over the bowl. Flip bowl upside down so that the custard falls onto the plate. The custard should slide out and the caramel sauce should pour over the cake.

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