Cookbook challenge: Week 17 – Vietnamese – Banh gan

I have a bit of an irrational fear about recipes involving water baths. Years ago, doing my hospitality course, a bit of water splashed out of it and burnt me and ever since then I have avoided any recipe that calls for such nonsense. But, I love creme caramels and flans and anything custardy! So I decided to suck it up when I came across this recipe for Banh gan – coconut creme caramel.

I have never made my own caramel before… so that part was hard and it certainly didnt get a dark, rich colour because I got a bit freaked when it started getting real sticky. It also didnt make nearly enough for the quantity of mixture you have, so I would suggest anyone making these in the future double the caramel mixture.

The recipe was in fact super simple to put together, however it was quite eggy. I am not sure if this was because I use soy milk instead of real milk, which doesnt have quite the creamy flavour, but I would suggest upping the vanilla content and using a bit more coconut milk instead of real milk to possibly mask the eggy taste.

That said, 2 days on and the egg flavour was less prominent and the coconut milk really gives these a sweetness that is quite nice! I might play around with this recipe again in the future.

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 225g (1 cup) white sugar
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) water
  • 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
  • 375ml (11/2 cups) milk
  • 6 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Toasted shredded coconut, to serve
  • Shredded lime rind, to serve //


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Combine the white sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, occasionally brushing down side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water, for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Pour the caramel mixture evenly among eight 160ml (2/3-cup) capacity ovenproof ramekins. Set aside for 5 minutes or until set.
  2. Whisk together the coconut milk, milk, egg, brown sugar and vanilla bean paste in a large bowl until well combined. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug. Carefully pour over the caramel mixture in the ramekins.
  3. Place the ramekins in a large roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until the custards are just set.
  4. Transfer to a baking tray and set aside for 1 hour to cool. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight to chill.
  5. To serve, run a flat-bladed knife around the inside edge of the ramekins and carefully turn onto serving plates. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and lime rind to serve.


Good Taste – December 2006

7 responses to “Cookbook challenge: Week 17 – Vietnamese – Banh gan

  1. Ahh you poor thing about water baths. I am the same way about deep frying. Good to see that you pursued it again though, it looks fabulous 🙂

  2. It does look a bit eggy, maybe it is due to the soy milk. Agnes made a coconut creme caramel and I have one in my cookbook. Would be interesting to compare them all.

    • I think it was the soy milk, there isnt enough flavour in it to mask the egg. that said, it would be pretty simple to switch out the soy for more coconut milk to increase the coconut flavour. it would be interesting to see how other recipes stack up!

  3. This looks so yummy! I love it/

  4. I burnt my hand with hot water just the other day and can totally sympathise.

    Hats off to you for bravery – and for making a dessert.

  5. Oh these look really good. I love the small bubbles in it. It looks so light.

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