My son is a major fan of creamy comfort food. He was obsessed with this pudding and its caramel notes. ❤ I loved all of the garnishes.
This recipe for this sweet treat was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. She was able to find the perfect ratio of milk to cornstarch to prevent grittiness. I found that the pudding had to cook a little bit longer to thicken.
I topped the chilled pudding with lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, toasted and sweetened sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Next time, I may try candied pecans instead of almonds. 🙂 The original recipe includes several other options as well.
Yield: Serves 4
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 packed cup/165 grams dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cups/480 milliliters whole milk
- 1 cup/240 milliliters heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or Scotch whisky, optional (I omitted it)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- freshly whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving (I lightly sweetened the whipped cream with confectioners’ sugar)
- chopped candied ginger, sliced almonds, Demerara sugar, shaved chocolate, cocoa nibs or flaky sea salt, or a combination , for garnish, optional
- Put egg yolks, cornstarch and salt into a large heatproof bowl (preferably with a spout), and whisk until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. (I used a balloon whisk and a pyrex bowl with a spout.)
- In a medium pot over medium heat, combine brown sugar and butter, whisking, until the brown sugar melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a sauce whisk so that I could get into the edges of the pan.) Let cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to smell like hot caramel and darkens slightly, about 1 minute longer. (Don’t walk away, or the mixture may burn.)
- Immediately pour the milk and cream into the pot. (It will bubble fiercely and seize up- the sugar clumps.) Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the clumps melt, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking yolks until smooth, then whisk in the remaining hot cream mixture. Pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan and place it over medium heat.
- Cook pudding, whisking constantly especially around the bottom and edges of the pot, until it comes to a full boil. It is important to bring the pudding to a full, vigorous boil to activate the cornstarch. Otherwise, it may not set. (If you end up with thin, runny pudding, undercooking may have been the issue.) Also- it’s okay if the eggs curdle because the mixture is strained at the end.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring the mixture constantly, until it thickens enough to mound thickly on the spoon, 4 to 10 minutes. If at any point the pudding looks curdled, whisk to help smooth it out.
- Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof container or bowl, then stir in the Scotch or bourbon, if using, and vanilla.
- To prevent a skin from forming, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding. (If you like the skin, don’t cover pudding until it cools.)
- Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
- If garnishing the pudding with toasted sliced almonds, evenly spread them on a parchment paper-lined rimmed sheet pan; roast in a 400 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and place in a small frying pan. Top with granulated sugar, to taste, and cook over medium-low to medium heat just until the sugar melts and coats the almonds, about 1 to 2 minutes. Return to the lined baking sheet to cool.
- When serving, spoon pudding into dishes. Top with dollops of whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, and any of the optional garnishes. (I incorporated some confectioners’ sugar into freshly whipped cream.)