January 6, 2011

Apple Jelly Pudding With Caramelized Cashew Nuts

January 5. Yesterday. It was my baby’s birthday. He’s such a bundle of joy and we are so blessed. It’s hard to believe my boy is so grown up, he’s going to tower over me soon!

I’m going to round off this eventful week with a sweet sensation. I tasted this dish at one of our regular potluck get-together with friends. One of my friend had cooked apple pudding topped with caramelized cashews for dessert. The pudding tasted like a vanilla flavored gelatin and the crunchiness of the caramelized cashews gave body to the dessert. It was light and tasty, and I liked it. In fact, everyone liked it a lot. So I got the recipe and made it at home. Twice. It tasted just as good. 

This recipe uses agar as the gelling agent. Agar or agar-agar is more commonly known as china grass in India. It is a type of dried seaweed, which is also used as a vegetarian substitute for the animal-derived gelatin. Note that the agar has stronger setting properties than gelatin. So reduce quantity and use accordingly. The pudding can be made in a regular rectangular cake mold and cut into pieces when ready to serve. You can also make it in individual ramekins or jelly moulds. Or even use small glasses. I particularly like the idea of snuggling on a couch with a glass of pudding to enjoy. The choice is yours.

I hope you like it. Enjoy your weekend!

Apple Jelly Pudding With Caramelized Cashew Nuts


2 apples
500ml milk (I used low fat)
375g sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 teaspoon sugar
13g agar (a bit more than 1 ¼ cup when crumbled)
1 ½ cup hot water

For topping
½ cup unsalted cashew nuts, chopped
3 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ tablespoon butter

Place agar in a pan with the hot water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Turn down heat and leave to simmer until melted. This will take around 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring milk to boil in another pan, and then stir in the condensed milk, sugar and vanilla essence. Now peel, core and grate the apples and add this to the milk mixture. Cook for 4 minutes. 

Remove the melted agar from heat, allow to cool for 5 minutes, and strain the liquid into the warm apple-milk mixture. To prevent mixture from curdling, stir well to combine and immediately remove from heat. Transfer to a jug and pour into the cake mould or divide between small ramekins. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 4 hours until set.

To make the topping: In a small heavy-based saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Tip in the cashews and gently toss and roast for 2 minutes. Add sugar and gently heat until the sugar has melted. Take care not to burn the sugar-cashew mixture. Remove pan from heat when the sugar turns pale golden. Note that the mixture will continue cooking and turn a shade darker after removing from heat. Spread onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly greased baking sheet to cool. Break apart.

When ready to serve, unmold the pudding and flip onto a plate. Sprinkle liberally with the caramelized cashew and enjoy!


  1. Nash....Jan 5th reminded me of the party we had at the clubhouse years back. Our kids were so much younger then na. My girl turns 12 in a few days!!!

    This dessert looks yummy. surely gonna try it out soon. I love your presentation and the narration - very personal.

  2. You have great memory, Joyce. That was for Sami's b'day party. We had a small, intimate crowd and a great time, thanks to you. Such sweet memories huh. Is Richa's b'day in Jan too?

    And thanks for your kind words. And for being such a loyal friend. It means a lot to me ...:)

  3. yummy recipe..........feels like eating it from the glass...........nice blog......pls visit my blog also

  4. Cook from Doha: Nice to meet you! Are you from Doha?!! I ask, cos I'm living in Doha :)

  5. can i use gelatin for this dessert? I am intrigued by this one. Will gelatin give the same result, any idea?

  6. and the sprinkling of carmelized cashew- sugar is just genius :-)

  7. Hey Anita, sorry I didn't get back to you any sooner. I'm sure gelatin would give the same result since it's a thickening agent too, though I've personally not tried it in this recipe. I used gelatin in my cheesecake recipe and I know that agar gels more firmly than gelatin. So if you're substituting gelatin keep this in mind, esp if you plan to unmold the pudding before serving.

    And, yes, caramelized cashew topping is a winner. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

  8. Nashira, I made your apple jelly pudding and I have to tell you how amazing this pudding is. Thank you so much for sharing :-)

  9. Anita! Thanks a ton for the review and the kind reference in your post. You made my day!! ♥♥

  10. this looks wonderful Nash!!! I've tried karikku pudding with agar-agar. That was a horrible disaster :( And Ive been vary of agar-agar since. But this looks tempting enough to try my hands on agar-agar again :)

  11. Assalam alaykum...

    A great blog that you have here.. While your recipes and pictures are without doubt wonderful, I must say I'm more attracted to your writing! You have great talent in being able to translate your thoughts into beautiful words.. you ought to put to even greater use such natural flair!

    Regarding the recipe of this pudding, I have a query on which I'd like your thoughts. I had made this pudding 2 days ago in a manner different than that mentioned above. In fact I'd gone through a couple of recipes online and found out that while some recipes called for adding the prepared china grass to the boiling milk mixture with further boiling and stirring for 4 min (my method), some others instructed boiling both seperately, letting stand for 5 min and then combining both. Your recipe gives a 3rd approach to make this pudding by adding the boiled gelatinous mix into boiling milk mixture and immediate removal from heat. It also calls for the cooking of grated apple for 4 min, whereas some recipes have the apple added after the pudding mix is removed from heat.

    I'm always interested in shorcuts to recipes that saves time without compromisng quality. My pudding came out fine. I'd like to know what difference it makes to the pudding when chinagrass is added to boiling milk and cooked further, when both are boiled seperately and then combined after 5 min and when it is added to milk, stirred and taken off heat immediately.
    Also, the difference between cooking the apple and adding it fresh.

    Mrs. Sheikh

    1. Hi Mrs. Sheikh, at the outset my apologies for the delay in response.

      As you may have read here, I got the recipe from my one of my friends and just followed her instructions. While working with agar it's important to dissolve it in hot liquid, preferably water, and simmer it until melted. The primary reason I did not boil it with milk was to avoid any mishaps. Also I usually cook with agar threads (not powder), and prefer to strain the dissolved agar-water mixture to discard any solids left behind, and then combine it with the remaining warm ingredients. You know what I mean? As for adding apples before removing from heat, this is to soften the bite. However, if you like a bit of texture in your pud, you can add the fruit after removing from heat. Hope this helps.

      And oh, thanks so much for your beautiful words, you made me smile!

  12. I forgot to add the link to the recipe on which I base my method - http://kitchenmishmash.blogspot.com/2008/02/china-grassagar-agar-pudding-with.html

    Mrs. Sheikh

  13. Hi,I tried this yesterday with gelatin and it turned out really well!!Loved the crunchiness of the cashew on top...My husband too liked it...Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  14. I cooked it at home once, it was not good. But I will try your recipe. I hope I will make good this time.


A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi