Caramel Pudding -The Ultimate Norwegian Christmas Dessert (Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free)
My grandma used to be the undefeated boss of Caramel Pudding. Her trained hands would twirl the molten sugar around the pan effortlessly, never burning a finger. Her pudding always came out flawless, velvety and golden, and always abundant.
Since my grandma passed it has been my dads job to make the perfect pudding. Not quite as gracefully, usually accompanied by the odd squeal and generally a glass of ice water for his fingers, yet no less of a success!
“Karamellpudding” is Norways most popular dessert, yet it’s no every-day occurrence mind you. It’s a Christmas eve tradition, and in my family we literally only lay our hands (or taste buds) on this most delicious of treats one day a year. The shops are full of knock-offs, but I assure you nothing comes even remotely close to the real deal!
This yummy Norwegian take on Creme Caramel (or flan) has always been my favourite dessert, and always will be. As it’s made primarily with milk and eggs, it’s a nutritious dessert without the usual fat and sugar overload. Apparently it has been claimed that you can live on Caramel Pudding alone, and still get every nutrient you need! Obviously I wouldn’t recommend that (I wish..), but there’s something to be said for the milk and egg combo. In fact, it’s been said that eggs alone could solve the American nutritional problem! (Read about the nutritional benefits of eggs)
Speaking of milk and eggs though; I can’t have milk just now, and I’m not alone. Christmas is pretty much just around the corner and I’m certainly not willing to give up my pudding!
There are some really amazing moms out there who fight a constant battle with food in an effort to make it safe and tempting for their allergic kids. I often browse these blogs for ideas, and I’m in awe of their determination and creativity. One of these blogs is the Failsafe Foodie who I noticed had successfully made creme caramel with rice milk. It’s hard to believe that it might work in a dish where milk is such a major component, but I decided to transform it into my own favourite and give it a go. It was awesome! You really, honestly cannot even tell a little bit! The pudding came out absolutely perfect, and I sure gave grandma a run for her money even without milk.
I’ve laid out the recipe to suit both needs, so if you’re fine with milk then go right ahead and use the dairy options. The only difference will be that the pudding will have a slightly darker colour with rice milk. Either way, your pudding will come out like a piece of delicious art! Yum yum yum!
For the original pudding (with dairy), you’ll need:
- 200 ml sugar (for the caramel)
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or citric acid)
- 600 ml milk
- 300 ml cream
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 8 organic pastured eggs
- 1 organic vanilla pod (or 1 tsp natural vanilla extract)
For the dairy-free pudding you’ll need:
- 125 grams sugar (for caramel)
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or citric acid)
- 625 ml rice milk (or you can try with other light flavoured milk substitutes!)
- 100 grams sugar (for pudding)
- 1/2 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp natural vanilla extract)
- 3 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks
Both pudding versions are made the same way
- Keep a metal bread pan ready by the stove. Also, be prepared for very, very hot sugar! Caramel gets unbelievably hot and kids should be nowhere near this project!
- Preheat the oven to 120 c
- Pour the sugar (for the caramel) into a heavy saucepan along with the lemon juice. Melt slowly on low heat, you can swirl the pot lightly but do not stir! Once the sugar has melted, turn up the heat to achieve a nice caramel colour. The purpose of the lemon juice is to avoid it burning too soon. The darker the sugar, the richer the taste. It’s really all down to preference, but if you’re feeding kids then a lighter caramel might go down better.
- Now comes the challenge; Pour the warm caramel into the bread tin. Wearing oven mitts, swirl the caramel around carefully, covering the bottom and edges of the pan evenly. This isn’t hard to do, but it is hard not to burn your fingers. Be very careful and keep a cup of ice water next to your stove.
- Immediately pour hot water into your pot to remove the caramel before it hardens, or alternatively boil the caramel out of the pot later.
- Pour the milk and cream (or rice milk) into a pot, along with sugar and vanilla. Remember to split the pod. Bring to the boil whilst stirring constantly. I “cheat” by simply sticking my hands-free electric whisk into the pan (nb: I did not buy my whisk from the shop in the link, but that’s all I found on google). One of my mum’s greatest x-mas present ideas 😉
- Once the milk has come to a quick boil, pull it off of the heat and let it cool just a little.
- Gently whisk your eggs in a large bowl. Sift the warm milk into the eggs just a little at a time whilst whisking. If you pour it in too quickly the eggs will curdle!
- Let the egg and milk mixture sit for 10 minutes to remove any air bubbles, or you’ll have bubbles in the finished result.
- Pull out that sieve again, and sift the mixture into the caramelised bread pan, getting rid of any lumps of egg.
- Place the bread pan into a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with water up to about 1/3 of the bread pan. Stick it on the bottom shelf in the oven, and bake for 2 hours or until you can touch the top of the pudding with the back of a wet spoon. The pudding should feel like jello.
The pudding can (if you find yourself without patience) be eaten warm, but it is really supposed to be cold. Let it cool and stick it in the fridge until it is cold all the way through (next day). When you get it out of the fridge, turn it carefully upside-down on a plate and admire your perfect pudding project as the caramel sauce pours down the sides. Well done you!
Usually served with a dollop of whipped cream.
Oh I can’t wait for Christmas!!