California Pizza Kitchen and my sister had ordered their Salted Caramel pudding. It was so rich and decadent and it got me thinking of trying to make a homemade version. I figured that the pudding was nothing more than a butterscotch pudding, so off I went in search of a good butterscotch pudding and it lead me to this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, the Brown Eyed Baker.
If you've ever made caramel before, you know how tricky it can be with watching the temperature of the sugar as you cook it. This recipe is almost the same concept. Its tricky, but its quite simple. Once done, I placed the pudding in individual mini mason jars, topped them with my homemade salted caramel sauce and sprinkled a little Fleur de Sal to top it off. It was just as rich and decadent as the pudding we had at CPK. I think this was sister-approved.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/4 cup whole milk, divided
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. vanilla extract
caramel sauce to top
Fleur de Sal (optional)
1) Bring butter, sugars, water, corn syrup, lemon juice, and salt to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sugars and butter melt. Continue boiling until temperature reaches 240 deg F using a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
2) Immediately lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer with a steady stream of bubbles, stirring frequently until temperature reaches 300 deg F with the candy thermometer, about 12-16 minutes longer. The color should resemble dark peanut butter and has a burn smell.
3) Remove from heat and carefully add 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Swirl to incorporate (the mixture will bubble and steam). Allow the bubbles to subside then whisk vigorously, scraping down the sides of the pot until mixture is completely smooth, about 30 seconds.
4) Return pan to medium heat and gradually whisk in the remaining heavy cream until smooth. Whisk in 2 cups of the milk until smooth, making sure to scrape the sides of the pan to remove the remaining bits of caramel.
5) Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of milk in the microwave for 45 seconds (it should be simmering). In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Slowly whisk in the heated milk into egg mixture until smooth. Set aside.
6) Increase heat of the pot to medium-high heat and bring to a rapid boil, whisking constantly. Once mixture begins to boil rapidly and beginning to climb to the top of the pan, immediately pour into the yolk mixture in a single motion (do not add gradually). Whisk thoroughly for 10-15 seconds (it will thicken after a few seconds). Pour pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in vanilla extract.
7) Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent it from forming a film on top. Refrigerate until cold and set, about 3 hours. Whisk until smooth before serving. Top with caramel sauce sprinkled with Fleur de Sal.