For pudding lovers and dads who enjoy a sweet-and-salty dessert, here’s a silky pudding that emulates the one served at California Pizza Kitchen. Thanks to FransFavs.com who had the same pudding, went home and recreated it. Thanks, Fran!
The rich caramel pudding is garnished with chocolate cookie crumbs, whipped cream, caramel sauce and flaked sea salt. Any sea salt will do; but if you’re going out to buy sea salt for garnishing, look for Maldon, with its unique triangle-shaped crystals (see photo below, and check out the different types of sea salt).
RECIPE: SALTED CARAMEL PUDDING
Ingredients For 3 Cups (6 Half Cup Servings Or 3 One Cup Servings
For The Cookie Crust
1/2 cup finely crushed chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, about 10 cookies
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Pinch sea salt
For The Pudding
3 cups whole milk, room temperature (or 2 cups whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 12 chunks
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Whipped cream for garnish
Optional garnish: caramel sauce
Salted caramel pudding. Photo courtesy California Pizza Kitchen.
1. MAKE the cookie crust. In a small bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, butter and salt. Press 2 tablespoons of the crumbs into the bottoms of each of six clear custard/parfait dishes (you can use mason jars, wine goblets or other containers). Reserve the remaining crumbs to sprinkle on top of pudding as a garnish.
2. MAKE the pudding. In a large measuring cup with a pour spout, add 3 cups milk. Set milk and a silicon (heatproof) spatula next to the stovetop.
3. WHISK egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the milk in a medium bowl, until well combined. Set aside.
4. WHISK cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the milk in a small bowl, until smooth. Set aside.
Maldon sea salt has pyramid-shaped crystals. Photo courtesy Maldon Salt Co.
5. MAKE the caramel: In a stainless steel (or light colored) 3-quart saucepan, add the sugar and set over medium heat. Swirl the pan as the sugar begins to melt. Use the silicon spatula to move the sugar from side to side as necessary to help it melt and caramelize evenly. When the sugar melts entirely and is a medium-dark caramel color, promptly remove from the heat.
6. STAND back and carefully stir in the remaining milk. The mixture will boil and sputter furiously. The caramel may seize into a solid sugary mass. If so, when the mixture stops sputtering, bring it to a simmer over medium heat while stirring to melt the seized caramel. Scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan with the silicon spatula to make sure all seized caramel dissolves.
7. STIR, and then add the cornstarch mixture to the pan; stir to combine and bring the pudding to a very slow simmer. Simmer, stirring or whisking for 2 minutes to thicken. Decrease heat to medium-low so that pudding is no longer simmering.
8. LADLE 1/2 cup of the hot pudding into the egg yolk mixture and whisk rapidly. Repeat two times. Add the egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan (this tempers the egg and helps to prevent curdling).
9. RAISE the heat slightly and continue stirring the pudding until it thickens to the point that it thickly coats the back of the spatula, 2-4 minutes. Don’t boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and salt until the butter is melted.
10. IMMEDIATELY POUR the pudding through a single mesh strainer into a medium mixing bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup. Alternatively, you can pour pudding directly into six (or fewer if you want larger servings) 1/2-cup serving dishes. Quickly press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
11. COOL, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. To serve, spoon pudding into six, 1/2-cup ramekins (if you didn’t do this earlier). Top each serving with a generous mound of whipped cream and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs. Drizzle with optional caramel sauce. Serve immediately.