I've got news : I've got braces! For the second time! Can you believe that?? I hated having them, some 7-8 years ago, for almost 1 and a half year! Luckily, this time around, it's only a 6 month thing, which, however, involves one surgery! So I had two of my lovely teeth extracted for them, and it was the MOST painful thing I've ever gone through! I couldn't eat for one entire week. And that's where this pudding comes in.
After the pain receded a bit, I was able to eat semi-solid things, and by that time, I was fiercely craving some rich, luscious dessert. I had this pudding from Smitten Kitchen bookmarked ever since she posted it, and it seemed perfect for me. It so was. I'm a little intimidated of caramel, but this was soo easy. With just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes, you achieve a delicious cupful of dulce-de-leche ish delight! The caramel taste was prominent, even though I wimped out and took it off the gas too soon! And it just deepens with time. It's perfect comfort-food.
The first step is to caramelise sugar, which starts off like this -
You want to keep going until you achieve something of this sort, or you could go even furthur if you're not a wuss like me.
Once you add the milk, the color really lightens, don't worry, we darken it later, for added caramel goodness :)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted from Food & Wine
4 cups milk, whole or 2%
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup [240 g] sugar
- In a small bowl, whisk together 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. Do not leave the stove at any point, there are only ever a few seconds between perfection, and burnt, unusable caramel. Once you are satisfied with the color, remove the pan from the heat.
- SLOWLY whisk in the remaining 3 1/2 cups of milk. You don't want to hurry this up, because the caramel will bubble up like an erupting volcano! Don't worry about the color, which will darken, that is what you want to achieve for maximum flavor! The caramel might clump up as well.
- Once all the milk is added, return the pan to the stove, over medium low heat, to dissolve the clumped up caramel. Keep going until the mixture is slightly thicker, and the color has deepened, about 10 minutes.
- Now add the milk cornflour mixture to the pan, while constantly stirring. The pudding will thicken up almost immediately, about 1 minute.
- Pour into small bowls [keep the serving sizes small]. If you feel you couldn't get all the clumps out, or if you want perfection, you could strain the mixture. I didn't, and you couldn't tell. Also, if you want to avoid the pudding skin, you can lay plastic wrap directly over the bowl, touching the pudding to avoid its formation.
Anyway, no matter which way you roll, this pudding is delicious, creamy, and just fills your mouth with the caramel-y goodness that you can see below. The gelatin-y looking bite is just off the edge of the bowl, you can see the creaminess of the pudding below it!