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Recipe

Salted Caramel Pudding Parfaits

Peden + Munk

Servings: 6

At some point in the last decade, the marriage of caramel and salt became a perennial one on dessert menus. What took us so long? Here is a luscious representation. Serve it in parfait glasses or a clear serving dish so the layers are visible.

Ingredients

For the pudding

  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 3 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Caramel Sauce (recipe follows, and makes about 1 cup)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fleur de sel

For the caramel sauce

  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Preparation

Make the pudding

  • Whisk together 1/2 cup of the heavy cream, the cornstarch, and vanilla paste in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Put 1 cup of the sugar into a medium copper or heavy stainless steel saucepan and set over medium heat. As the sugar heats, you will see it start to melt around the edges and then turn golden in color, in 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or heatproof silicone spatula, nudge the sugar slightly on one side. You will see liquid caramel slowly move out from underneath the granular sugar. Very slowly start to move the sugar into the liquid caramel. Do not rush this process—if the caramel starts to look grainy, you are incorporating the sugar too quickly. If the caramel starts to smoke or get very dark, remove the pan from the heat until the smoking subsides or lower the heat.
  • When the sugar has completely melted and is dark amber in color, turn off the heat and pour in the milk—it will bubble up. When the bubbles settle down, turn the heat on to low and whisk the milk and caramel together, then cook, whisking, to dissolve any hardened bits of caramel.
  • Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the caramel and continue cooking, stirring, until the pudding thickens and coats the back of the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Pour the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap so the pudding doesn’t form a skin and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Make the caramel sauce

  • Put the sugar into a medium copper or heavy stainless steel saucepan and set over medium heat. Pour the cream and corn syrup into a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat.
  • As the sugar heats, you will see it start to melt around the edges and then turn golden in color, in 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or heatproof silicone spatula, nudge the sugar slightly on one side. You will see liquid caramel slowly move out from underneath the granular sugar. Very slowly start to move the sugar into the liquid caramel. Do not rush this process—if the caramel starts to look grainy, you are incorporating the sugar too quickly. If the caramel starts to smoke or get very dark, remove the pan from the heat until the smoking subsides or lower the heat.
  • Meanwhile, watch the cream: You want it to come to a boil when the sugar reaches the liquid caramel stage, so adjust the timing accordingly by raising or lowering the heat under the cream (if the cream comes to a boil too early, just remove it from the heat).
  • When the sugar has completely melted and is dark amber in color, remove from the heat and pour in the cream—it will bubble substantially. When the caramel has settled down, stir the ingredients together until smooth. Add the butter and salt and stir until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the hot caramel into a heatproof jar or container and let cool completely. Bring to room temperature or reheat gently before serving.

Assemble the parfaits

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the remaining 1 cup cream with the remaining 1 Tbs. sugar until firm peaks form.
  • Spoon 1 to 2 tsp. of caramel sauce into the bottom of each parfait glass. Scoop about 1/2 cup of pudding into the glass, drizzle with another 1 to 2 tsp. caramel sauce, and top with a large dollop of whipped cream. Drizzle a little more caramel sauce over the whipped cream, finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel, and serve immediately.

Make Ahead Tips

The pudding can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days. The caramel sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

Tip

Excerpted from Sweet: Inspired Ingredients, Unforgettable Desserts by Valerie Gordon (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • user-2443768 | 02/10/2014

    Not sure why others had trouble getting the pudding to thicken. Mine came out just fine. Not gelatinous but silky and soft.

  • user-1033381 | 02/09/2014

    I wish I had read the previous comment before I started this recipe. The same thing happened: it was a soup not a pudding. I try to add some yolks (3) after cooling back down and cook again (up to 70 degrees C) to no avail...

  • siriius | 12/08/2013

    The caramel sauce was fantastic, but the pudding never thickened despite cooking it much, much longer than the recipe stated. It had no eggs and I have never made pudding that did not have eggs in it. Could it have been an oversight?

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