“Even though sugar was very expensive, people consumed it till their teeth turned black, and if their teeth didn’t turn black naturally, they blackened them artificially to show how wealthy and marvelously self-indulgent they were.”
― Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life
I love caramel and early in my food blog inspired recipe testing phase I tried a recipe for caramel pudding. The sugar caught fire and the pan I was using charred and cracked. My mother burst into the kitchen because she could smell smoke at the opposite end of the house, just in time to see her brand new coffee pan burst into flames and fall apart. Some people would have carried on caramelizing but I’m the first to admit that I have no ability to persevere in the face of adversity. Half the time I don’t even manage to persevere in the face of success. So I retired my caramel pudding dreams and moved on to other recipes.Greed is a powerful motivator though. So is an articulate food writer. After reading some of Joy the Baker’s encouraging, happy, hug in a blog post type of writing I decided to give caramel puddings another shot.

This dessert is for serious caramel lovers and there isn’t much point in serving it to people without a high threshold for sugar. This ties in with the other advantage of this recipe, which is that it’s made up of hardly any ingredients at all. There might be some point to perseverence yet.

Serves 8
From Smitten Kitchen and Joy the BakerWhat you’ll need:

4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp cornstarch/ corn flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
Sea salt or whipping cream for topping

How to:

1. Take a large heavy bottomed pan and plonk in the sugar with ½ cup of water. Let the mixture come to a boil and then let the mixture cook on moderately high heat.

Note: Do NOT stir the sugar. Just leave it alone and it’ll bubble up and start to caramelize.

2. In about 7 to 12 minutes the sugar should have started to brown. Once you have a nice deep brown colour going take your pan off the heat and add 3 ½ cups of milk.

Note: Add the milk slowly, stirring as you go. The milk will make the caramel seize up and your whisk will start to get stuck in the caramel milk muck.

3. Stir the caramel and milk as best you can. Give up and return the pan to the stove. The caramel will dissolve into the milk with the heat.

4. Keep whisking till the mixture gets a little thicker. This may take more time if you’re using skim milk.

5. In the mean time take the ½ cup of milk you have left over and add stir in the corn starch till there are no lumps. Add the vanilla and stir some more. Set aside.

6. Once the mixture has reduced and thickened, add the cornstarch mixture, checking one more time that there are no lumps.

7. Cook for a couple of minutes more while the mixture thickens and take it off the heat.

8. Spoon into ramekins and chill for atleast 2 hours.

9. Serve with either sea salt or whipping cream on top.


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