For the custard
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
For the caramel
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
a deep mould for steaming
Method for the caramel
1. Melt the sugar on low heat until it turns a deep brown. Remove from fire, add the water carefully, then put back on fire and cook on slow heat until a thick honey-like syrup is obtained. This is the caramel.
2. While still hot, pour the caramel into the mould (rinsed in cold water) and gradually turn the mould so that the sides get coated with the caramel. Leave aside.
For the custard:
1. Beat the eggs with the sugar thoroughly.
2. Boil the milk. While still boiling, pour into the egg-sugar mixture and beat vigorously until well blended. There should be no lumps.
3. Add the essence, beat once again and pour into the mould.
4. Cover the mould with a piece of aluminium foil. Bring down the foil on all sides and tie at the rim of the mould with the piece of string.
5. Steam cook the custard on very low heat for 30-45 minutes. (A fine needle pierced through should come out clean). Remove the foil. Cool, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. Just before serving, cover the mouth of the mould with a plate. Quickly turn the mould over on to the plate and remove the mould. Serve immediately.
Note: If you have no aluminium foil, cut a thick brown paper into a circle 5cm larger than the mould. Grease well on both sides with some butter or refined oil.