I can’t remember the first time that I had pudim de leite condensado, but I do know that I liked it and that it almost immediately became one of my favorite desserts. Pudim de leite condensado is basically what it says it is: a condensed milk pudding. It is similar to the French Flan; it has caramel, and is baked in a banho-maria (also known as a bain-marie), and has a similar taste and texture. All that you need for this easy dessert is, you guessed it, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, eggs, and sugar!
Brazilians love this dessert and eat it at any opportunity they get. And, so do I!
My husband has always been the one who made pudim de leite condensado, but I took this task away from him a couple of weeks ago when I first tried to make it. Everyone has told me that this is a challenging dessert and it might not work. Well, guess what, I proved them all wrong on my first try. Although the caramel was the biggest challenge and I made about three attempts until I roped in my husband for help, the pudim, as it is commonly called in Brazil, turned out magnificent and everyone enjoyed it!
Since my first try I have made three others, all with varying degrees of success. The first one still stands out as the best though! The biggest challenge has been the caramel, and it is still the part that I most dread. But, slowly with practice I am getting the hang of it, even though I still burn one out of every three batches.
I think that the secret to making the caramel is to make it in an aluminum pot, preferably the tin that you will be baking the pudim in. Now, whether I am right with this I have no clue, this just seems to have worked best for me. And, as for the water, I have tried caramels with water, without water, with a little bit of water, and with a lot of water. The one that has worked best for me is the Brazilian version of no water! I’ll give you two recipes and you can tell me which one you think is best. Any caramel experts? Your advice is very much welcomed.
One of the first challenges I had with this dessert was trying to find a recipe. In Brazil everyone seems to have their own recipe for everything, and that was definitely the case with the pudim. I found about four different recipes, with a million different recipes for the caramel. Looking at all the recipes I couldn’t figure out which one was going to work and which one was, literally, going to FLOP. In the end I just went with the one that seemed the safest. It worked and this is the one I will share with you today. (I’m still trying the other recipes and if one turns out to be better than this you can bet I will post it).
Anyway, this dessert is absolutely amazing, and like a lot of Brazilian sweets, no matter how it looks it will still taste delicious. Trust me, I have had my fair share of flopped, ugly, and odd looking pudims, but all have tasted amazing and I never hesitate to eat it!
For some great pictures of the whole process of making pudim take a look at the wonderful blog from Ludmilla and Marilyn.
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 can (the same as the condensed milk can) of whole milk
250g white crystalized sugar
6 tablespoons white crystalized sugar
½ cup water
Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Put the sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, and eggs into a blender. Mix well and put aside to rest while making the caramel.
Sugar Only: Place the sugar in the pan that you will be baking the pudim in, or use an aluminum saucepan (stainless steel works too). Place over medium low heat and stir gently. Continue until you have a light syrup, making sure not to burn it. Remove from heat immediately.
Sugar & Water: Add the sugar and water to the pan you will be baking the pudim in, or use an aluminum saucepan (stainless steel works too). Place over medium low heat. When sugar starts to melt, stir gently and occasionally until the syrup starts to turn to a light-clear brown, remove immediately. Do not let it burn.
Place the baking pan with caramel sauce into a large baking tray. Pour in the mixture of sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, and eggs. Set the whole assembly in the oven and then pour enough hot water into the large baking dish to come about halfway up the side of the pan with the pudim.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until brown on the top and a toothpick comes out clean.
Leave to cool until room temperature. Turn the pudim onto a plate and put it into the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour.
Cleaning Tip: If your caramel sauce doesn’t work the first time or there is a lot of caramel sauce stuck to the baking pan, simple put water into the pan, put over medium heat until all the caramel has dissolved and then pour out. This is the easiest and most effective way to clean caramel from cookware.
For a PDF of this Recipe CLICK HERE!
Sweetened Condensed Milk Note: I have been told that making pudim outside of Brazil is a challenge for some Brazilians as the sweetened condensed milk is not the same. Personally, my husband and I have never had a problem with this. Actually, the best pudim we have ever made (actually my husband made it) was in Boston.