No.111 Kazandibi “Turkish Creme Brûlée”

This is the most complicated dessert I have ever made. This is meant to be a simple milk pudding with a caramelised “brule” bottom, however, this has taken almost a year to get right. Kazandibi is a traditional Turkish dessert with many varitations. It was traditionally made with chicken breast (seriously!) and then moved towards being made with cornflour or rice. I prefer an all cornflour mix as rice can make the pudding lumpy. Additionally, it would traditionally have been carmelised on a large metal pan over a flame. The important thing is to make sure your pan does not have a non-stick coating or this can burn, ruining your wife’s favourite baking tin. By leaving the pudding overnight it will naturaly dislodge from the bottom.

The addition of extra cream to this traditional recipe also makes it more in tune which our western ideas of deserts. You need to get the consitancy of the corn flour thickened mixture just right. Make sure it is not loose as described below and don’t be afraid of cooking it longer as the mix will only thicken so far. If you don’t get the rich colour you like add some cinnamon before serving to darken the colour.

You can flavour this dessert traditionally with mastic gum (find at middle eastern shops) or non traditionally with rose water or vanilla. Theorectically the mastic should thicken up the pudding more but some people may not like the pine like flavour. I have found it hasn’t made that much of a difference. In Turkey this dessert would be served with honey and pistachios but I find that it goes well with golden syrup and hazelnuts also.

Time: 30 minutes (make the night before)

Serves: 6-8

Difficulty: Pernickety

800ml of Whole Milk

200ml Single Cream

1 cup of Granulated Sugar

100g of Cornflour

5 tablespoons of Icing Sugar

25g of Butter

To serve: honey, crushed pistachios

Flavouring: vanilla essence, rose water or mastic

  1. Take two large non-stick pans or two metal trays that do not have a non-stick coating. Coat with butter and then with 3 tablespoons of icing sugar. Shake off any excess.
  2. Whisk together the milk, cream , cornflour and sugar. Using mastic, grind 1-2 grains and add at this point. Add to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Whisk continually until thickened and the mixture does not thicken any more. It should stick to the back of a spoon and be like a very thick custard.
  4. If adding rosewater or vanilla add it now.
  5. Take a few ladles of the mixture and add to the butter and sugar coated pans.
  6. Spread around and cook on a medium heat. You want to see the mixture sticking and starting to brown.
  7. Once you smell the milk beginning to caramelise continue cooking and add the rest of the mixture (after 1-2 minutes). Once the mixture bubbles near the centre remove from the heat.
  8. Once the pans/tins are cooled. Place in the fridge.
  9. After four hours or after being left overnight cut squares from the mixture in the pan. Serve on individual plates. Drizzle with honey and top with crushed pistachios.

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