a very small project

flan and note from vanessa
flan instructions

Vanessa dropped this tiny cardboard package, the size of a matchbook, in my mailbox. I will take it to my Portuguese neighbours, two doors down, for interpretation…Any hints?
(“Creative” suggestions welcome).

11 thoughts on “a very small project

  1. Caroline


    It looks suspiciously like creme caramel to me. In which case I have no idea how you would prepare it from packet mix. All I can decipher is vanilla, salt,

  2. David

    I’m just wondering how much pudding (or ‘pudim’?) you’re going to get from 4.8g worth of ingredients in a pack the size of a matchbook. Maybe one little creme caramel thing?

    Although the finished result in the bowl does also look a bit like his hat.

    I’m intrigued that the barcode has the little scissor symbol for cutting it out, as if you could maybe cut out a number of them (perhaps there are different flavours) and send them somewhere (Portugal? China?) to win a prize. Maybe a hat.

  3. iwantphuong

    Yeah, I reckon it’s Chinese-style creme caramel. I’ve seen asian creme caramel around Cabramatta and it’s denser than the regular types of creme caramel you purchase from the supermarket. They’re baked or something.

    The packet seems to contain liquid, but measured in grams. Perhaps it contains all the flavours that would make up the flan?

    But yeah, if you’re around Cabramatta and want to give the Chinese version a try, just find a dessert store and ask for flan!

  4. mayhem

    Here’s my fudged guess based on bits of spanish, french and english. I reckon the gaps make it interesting – and you could add random words and end up with a whole yum cha banquet.

    Mandarin flavoured pudding
    Preparation: Mix contents of one packet with 3 spoons of sugar syrup. Something half a litre of milk is necessary to something this pudding something something a small portion something something to dissolve. Put the rest and when the milk rises something add to mixture until it dissolves, something something mixing always turning for a few minutes. Place aside something something in a mould, already caramelised something something.

    Ingredients: flour, something, salt, artificial colours, artificial flavour (vanilla)

  5. Your sister (editor crank)

    something I can’t quite remember leads me to think that ‘mandarin’ actually means orange flavour and not mandarine.
    Interesting that there is no actual orange or mandarine in the ingredients though, just those artificial colours and flavours. mmm mmm. And surely one of the ingredients (perhaps ‘mayhems’ “something”) is sugar?! I’m guessing the first or second…

  6. deborah

    I don’t think it’s creme caramel- I reckon it’s something more like a portugese version of junket, this DISGUSTING dessert my nana loved from the depression. It was made from these kind of pastel-coloured tablets full of synthetic non-foodstuffs, the addition of milk, waiting, turning, and then dismay, as your grandchildren ran out shrieking.

  7. deborah

    um, I forgot to look at the picture of the pudim itself- I am talking out of my arse, alas.
    that’s creme caramel.

  8. shortleftleg Post author

    Ok folks. Enough blustering about. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that the ‘sham has zero Portuguese readership. That will have to be addressed. In the meantime, here’s the scoop on the Pudim.

    I went into the Portuguese deli and asked the nice young lady what it was all about.

    The scratchy notes I wrote about how to prepare the “pudim”:

    Mix 3 tablespoons of sugar in with the powder in the packet.
    Get 1/2 a litre of milk ready.
    Mix a small amount of this milk in with the powder/sugar, just enough to dissolve the mixture – you want it more runny than a paste but don’t add more milk than you need to dissolve the powder. Mix it good to get rid of any lumpy bits.
    Put the remaining milk on the stove, let it come to a boil, then turn the stove down.
    Let the powder-mixture trickle slowly into the hot milk on the stove, stirring continuously. Make sure it’s all mixed in so none of the powder-mixture sticks to the bottom of the pan as it will burn and the whole thing will be ruined.
    Turn the heat up a little more, and once it comes to the boil again, take it off the stove, and pour it into little cups.
    Whack em in the fridge to set, then serve cold.

    For advanced users: you can make a little caramel syrup by caramelising sugar and putting the resulting gooey stuff in the base of the cups before you pour the mix in to set. That way, when you tip the dessert out for your guests, the nice runny caramel will drool down the silky surface of the Pudim. Impressive!

    [ps: the Deli lady said she didn’t know why it was called “Flan Chino” – she said it’s got nothing to do with Chinese cuisine. In fact, she’s wondered about this herself ever since she was a kid. I’m throwing my hat in the ring with the clever David in guessing that the shape of the Pudim looks a bit like the Chinese fellow’s hat, and that’s where the name comes from…]


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