Monday, September 1, 2014

Purin (Crème Caramel) from Various Anime & Manga

          Purin (poodeen, with a soft 'd'), Japanese for pudding but really it's crème caramel, is very common in anime and manga and is a favorite snack found in many convenient stores in Japan. It's soft and jiggly and cute and was requested by Akweia (thanks!). Akweia specifically mentioned the beautiful 2006 anime film "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (the somewhat sequel to the novel of the same name by Yasutaka TsuTsui) in which the main character at one point goes back in time to thwart her sister from eating the purin she had been saving for herself. I'd watched the film years ago but couldn't remember that part, so I found it online to refresh my memory (sadly the DVD/BD is out of print in America) and she totally savors that purin! And she should, it's so good!

Makoto savoring her purin in "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time".
          Another anime that comes to mind for purin is the recent (2014) series "Nanana's Buried Treasure" (based on the manga series by Kazuma Otorino and Akaringo) in which one of the characters is a female ghost who is absolutely crazy for purin and makes her living, human, male, apartment-mate keep their little fridge constantly stocked with the stuff. My first introduction to purin though, many years ago, was via the Sanrio character Purin, a pudgy little golden retriever who is designed to resemble the dessert. I still have some stickers of him tucked inside my checkbook.

Note: There are several versions of purin and a few different ways to cook it. I've tried oven and stovetop methods and prefer the steaming on the stove, so that's the one I'll share here. If you're interested in the oven method just ask in the comments. Also, I ended up making two large purin with the containers I had, but with this recipe you could get about four regular-sized ramekins or maybe even five.

Purin (Crème Caramel)

1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Water + 1 Tbsp. Hot Water
1 1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 Eggs, room temperature

Important Items:
Mesh Strainer
Ramekins or Heat Proof Cups/Glasses
Large Pan with Lid
Kitchen Towel
Aluminum Foil


1. Generously butter the insides of the containers you'll be using for your purin. In a medium pot over medium-high heat pour the sugar & 2 Tbsp. of water. Do not stir. Simply let the sugar dissolve & tilt the pot every once in a while to mix. Let the mixture become a deep golden color (the darker it gets the more bitter) & then turn off the heat & very carefully pour in the 1 Tbsp. of hot water. The mixture will sizzle & pop a little bit. Tilt it around some more & then pour the contents into the buttered containers, separating it evenly between how ever many containers you have. Put the pot in the sink with hot water in it prior to cleaning up (the hot water will help get the cooked sugar off).
2. Fill a large pan with water, enough to go halfway up the sides of the containers you're using. Place a folded kitchen towel at the bottom of the pan, in the water. Turn the heat to medium-low.

3. In a medium pot on medium heat bring the milk, sugar, & vanilla to just under a boil, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat & set aside to use in a moment. In a medium bowl beat the eggs well by scribbling them up with a whisk or fork that stays touching the bottom of the bowl (meaning don't aerate the eggs by lifting up the whisk or fork while you beat). Slowly pour in the milk mixture while stirring well. Strain the mixture through the mesh sieve into another bowl or preferably a 2 cup or more liquid measuring cup (because the pour spout is very convenient for the next step). Spoon off any bubbles.
4. Titling the containers, one at a time, pour the egg/milk mixture slowly down the incline/side of the container until the mixture is about 1/4" or so from the top (more or less depending on how many containers you're working with & how tall they are). Evenly distribute the mixture between the cups & then tap them on the countertop to disturb any hidden bubbles (& then scoop the bubbles off). Cover each container with foil.

5. Place the covered containers carefully into the large pan with water in it. The water should be decently hot by now. Put the lid on the pan & turn the heat to low. Let cook for about 15-30 mins, depending on the size of containers you're using (15 or so mins for smaller containers, about 30 mins for tall ones). To check for doneness, take off the pan lid & very carefully remove the foil from one of the containers, & then shake it gently to see if it jiggles. If it's still liquid-y then it needs to cook some more. When the purin is done remove from the pan (taking off the foil) & place on a cooling rack. To put on a plate, gently run a knife along the edges, between the purin & the container it's in, & then place an overturned plate or bowl over the top of the container. Quickly flip it all over so that the plate or bowl is on the bottom facing right-side-up. The purin should slide right out (tap it a few times if it doesn't), caramel on top. Some caramel liquid will pour down the sides to pool at the bottom & this is a-okay. Also a disc of caramel may stick to the inside of the container. Pop it out with a knife & toss it or suck on it at your leisure (don't stick it on top of the purin). Chill the purin in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.

There are a ton of other anime and manga that feature creamy, jiggly purin.
What are some you can think of? Tell me in the comments below.

* For more purin-like goodness, try my Familiar's Creamy Flan from "Ni no Kuni"! *
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