I love when my kitchen is full of hot sugar and warm milk that turns into caramel pudding.
I love when my kitchen is full of new friends (see Jill, above) who aren’t shy about going in for a giant dollop of whipped cream on their caramel pudding.
My new friend Jill, from The Dish’s Dish is absolutely obsessed with caramel pudding. Browned and nutty cooked sugar meets whole milk and sea salt and whipped cream? Yes. Definitely obsession worthy.
I invited Jill over. I organized the simple ingredients in pretty bowls mostly so I could trick my new friend into thinking I’m super profesh… and…
we started cooking sugar. If you’ve got a new friend in the kitchen, might I suggest that you cook some sugar together? It’ll really set a happy tone for the rest of your friendship. Seriously. Bond over scalding hot sugar. It’s the best.
While the sugar cooked and browned, Jill and I patiently waited, and chatted about our mutual obsession with Mt Everest books and shows, laughed at how strange we are, and took pictures of the stove.
Once we whisked the cold milk into the hot sugar things got a little chunky… and tense. Our budding friendship was put to the test. Would the clumped up caramel dissolve? Would the milk not curdle? Oooh goodness. Jill whisked. I nervously took pictures of the electrical socket.
It worked. Everything worked. Friendship in tact. Pudding ready to be strained.
Individually wrapped caramel pudding ready to chill. We licked the spatula. We licked the bowl . It was totally the right thing to do.
Ooh! I forgot to mention Jill’s awesome boyfriend Taylor. He’s a dearheart. He filmed our caramel pudding making shenanigans. Thaaaat’s right! A little video called Bake Out with Jill and Joy…. coming soon.
But first… let’s just concentrate on the pudding…
and the whipped cream and sea salt that are about to top that pudding.
and my Mom who couldn’t resist a bowl.
and my new friend Jill who, come to find out, eats whipped cream and frozen M&Ms like… every night. Let’s just concentrate on those things while our little video is in the editing shop.
Just look at these two. Too beautiful to be true… but they are… true. It’s crazy.
Jill. Taylor. We’ve made caramel pudding. We have the video to prove it. We’re friends for life… or at last our bellies are. I’m totally coming over for whipped cream and frozen M&Ms. Trust that.
Stay tuned for Bake Out with Jill and Joy. Coming soon to… you.
Deb’s Caramel Pudding
serves 8 small servings or 4 caramel pudding lover servings
Sweet. Smooth. Will force you to forget about boring old chocolate or vanilla pudding for the rest of your days. Topped with coarse sea salt and whipped cream… you might think you’re Sherry Yard and your kitchen is Spago. You’re not Sherry Yard and your kitchen is not Spago… but for a moment… ooh yes… it will be.
4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
coarse sea salt and whipped cream for topping
In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the milk with the cornstarch, vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar with 6 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 8 minutes. Be sure not to stir the cooking sugar. If anything, feel free to swirl the pan around a bit. Be patient but watch the stove like a hawk as caramel changes color quickly. This is no time for multitasking. Just stand there and enjoy watching your caramel cook.
Remove from the heat. Very gradually whisk in the remaining 3 1/2 cups of milk. As you begin whisking it in, the caramel will get very dark and begin to seize with the cold milk. Not to worry… everything will work out.
Return the pot to the stove and whisk over moderate heat until the caramel has dissolved again. Once again, watch this closely as the milk will foam up quickly as it comes to a simmer. Simmer over moderately low heat until the mixture thickens just slightly and deepens in color, about 10 minutes.
Gradually whisk the cornstarch mixture into the caramel. Cook again over moderate heat, stirring, until the pudding thickens, about one minute. The pudding may look and feel pretty loose, but will thicken nicely when chilled in the fridge.
Strain the pudding fine strainer set over a large measuring cup; if you are, you can skip this and nothing terrible will happen. Scrape the pudding into eight 1/2-cup ramekins and refrigerate until chilled and set, about 2 hours.
To avoid a pudding skin press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of each pudding dish as it chills. Top with a generous sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a big ol’ dollop of whipped cream.