Turkish Burned Milk Pudding (Kazandibi)
This delicate Ottoman milk pudding has a burned bottom layer that adds a toasted-marshmallow, caramel-like flavor reminiscent of crème brûlée. The pudding itself is thickened with cornstarch for a soft, delightfully wobbly dessert that’s gently perfumed with mastic. You can find mastic, an aromatic tree-sap resin harvested in the Mediterranean, from specialty markets and spice shops. But if you can’t get it, feel free to substitute more vanilla extract, using a full teaspoon for the recipe. You need to make this at least 6 hours ahead so it has a chance to firm up. Making it a day or two ahead is even better. You will need a flameproof 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan — as long as it's made entirely of metal without an enamel coating, it should work. Avoid glass, which will shatter.
- Serves: 12 persons
- 1chickpea-size piece of mastic
- 1 ½cups/300 grams plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½cup/60 grams cornstarch
- ½cup/55 grams all-purpose flour
- 3cups/475 milliliters whole milk
- ¼teaspoon vanilla extract
Step 1Using a mortar and pestle, grind mastic with 1 teaspoon sugar.
Step 2In a medium bowl, dissolve cornstarch and flour in 1 1/2 cups cold water.
Step 3In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat milk and remaining sugar, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Whisk in cornstarch and flour mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 15 minutes. Boil for 30 seconds, then remove from heat.
Step 4Put a 9-by-13-inch flameproof metal baking pan over a medium-high burner and ladle in about 1 cup milk mixture, or enough to just cover bottom of pan. Let the pan heat to thoroughly burn the milk mixture. To get an evenly burned milky bottom, occasionally shift pan back and forth over the burner. (Make sure to wear oven mitts.) The darker the burned milk layer gets, the more flavorful the finished dish will be. Look for a deep chocolate brown color, just shy of black. Set the baking pan aside.
Step 5Add vanilla and the mastic mixture to milk mixture in saucepan. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then pour it over burned pudding in baking pan. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Step 6Cut into small squares and transfer with a spatula to individual serving bowls, layering several pieces in each bowl, burned bottoms up.