Crème caramel pudim a la Bombay

Crème caramel pudim a la Bombay

Bombay caramel pudding

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

The British left behind some influences in India’s culinary offering and none more so then in the cities of Bombay, Calcutta and Bangalore.

There is still one restaurant in Bombay aptly named Britannia, which makes the best caramel custard ever. Naturally, we could not replicate their recipe exactly, but here is a recipe that represents the taste and flavours we – especially the Parsees – hold dear. Be patient, though, to get that perfect thick, creamy texture and use only the best ingredients.


Quantity Ingredient
1.5 litres whole milk
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs


  1. Heat the milk in a heavy-based, non-stick saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until reduced by a third, keeping the sides clean. To do this you need a pastry brush and chilled water. As soon as the milk is simmering,
  2. Brush the sides with the wet brush. Do this every few minutes to prevent the thickening milk sticking to the pan. Take care not to use a dripping brush, as that is likely to dilute the milk. Also use a flat, preferably wooden, spatula to frequently scrape the bottom to prevent burning. If you notice any formation on the bottom of the pan when you stir, it is advisable to change pans and check rather than to scrape the bottom and end up with burnt bits in the custard.
  3. Do not be impatient and let it happen gradually. Once it is reduced it will be a pale brown and you will notice a great toffee aroma.
  4. Meanwhile, slowly heat 150 g of the sugar in a heavy-based pan with 1 tablespoon of water added until it is a rich golden brown, without stirring (if you stir it the sugar will crystallise).
  5. When you get that beautiful amber colour, pour it into a warm, shallow 1.5 -litre baking dish and quickly tilt and swirl the dish to spread out the caramel. Take care as caramel burns!
  6. Whisk the milk, preferably with a hand blender to help break any solids and cool it to warm.
  7. Preheat the oven to 120°C. Whisk the eggs with 1 heaped tablespoon of the remaining sugar in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the warm milk until well blended. Never add egg to the milk as it might split.
  8. Whisk in the vanilla then taste and add a little more sugar if liked but remember that the caramel will also add to the sweetness so don’t overdo it!
  9. Strain the custard into the caramel-coated dish. Place in a baking tin with enough boiling water to come 1 cm up the sides of the dish.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour until set. It should be wobbly but not wet.
  11. Remove from the oven, take out of the baking tin and leave to cool.
  12. Chill, if liked, before serving as it is or turned out onto a serving plate. Enjoy!
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