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Salted Honey Caramel Pudding

Posted Jun 21 2012 9:01am

This week….is weird.

I’ve made about 14 things this week that I’ve never made before. Most of the them have worked out. A few? Not so much.

I’ve been having crazy strange dreams about things that I know nothing about.

Like last night.

My dream started with me having a spat with Phillip Phillips, just inches from my face. Inches, people. I don’t know what we were fighting about, but for like 2 minutes in the dream, we just stared each other down. Then I got lost in his eyes (song reference – anyone?) and was about to give in when the dream changed.

Instead of standing in the middle of the fight, I was running through a huge white beach house…with the original cast of 90210.

Now, here’s where this is even weirder.

I have never – not ever – watched that show. I wasn’t allowed when it was actually on tv and I just never watched when I got older.  So…I really don’t know anything about the characters or any story lines or anything except their names and the Peach Pit.

I know. Jessica has already gotten on to me for never seeing the show, but I think I made up for it with my love of Dawson’s Creek and Saved by the Bell.

So. I’m in this beach house, with everyone from 90210. Things are normal, I guess.

But then Denise Richards, circa Wild Things, shows up and runs upstairs. I’m already confused in my dream so I have no idea what’s going on. A few of us head upstairs and are just about to sit down in one of the rooms to listen to a cd when a hand reaches out from under the bed, grabs Brenda’s ankle, and drags her under while she’s kicking and screaming. I jump up and am about to high tail it outta there when I see Denise come out from under the bed, with Brenda, and then we all realize that Denise is a vampire (maybe I shouldn’t be reading Twilight again?). And Brenda’s dead.

And then I wake up.

What is this supposed to mean?!

Do I need to watch the show? Do I need to NOT read vampire books right before going to bed? Do I need to not try so many new things in one week? I feel like my brain is scrambled after those dreams…and the only other thing I can think about is this pudding.

Before this weekend, I had never made homemade pudding before. Box mixes? Yes. But standing over a stove to watch my own pudding thicken and turn dreamy? This was a first.

And of course I couldn’t just do plain vanilla. I wanted caramel. Salted caramel. But salted caramel made with honey.

I’m a little obsessed with honey right now and this just made sense. Caramelizing honey makes your entire house smell edible – so be warned. And this pudding is NOT light – it is thick and rich and you really only need a little, especially if you’re topping with honey sweetened cream . But it is definitely a good idea.

Salted Honey Caramel Pudding

Makes: 4 dessert size servings or 2 generous servings or 1 big bowl of pudding for yourself

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the milk with the cornstarch, salt, and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix the honey, sugar and  water and bring the mix to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until an amber caramel forms, about 8 minutes. You don’t want to actually stir the caramel, but you can gently swirl the pan to make sure the caramel is cooking evenly. Keep a VERY close eye on the pan, it will turn from light amber to burnt really fast, and you don’t want it to do that.   Remove from the heat once it has reached an amber color.
  3. Whisk in the butter until it has melted completely into the caramel.
  4.  Whisk in 1 and 1/2 cups of milk.  As soon as you begin to stir, the caramel will seize with the cold milk.  It’s okay! Keep stirring and the caramel will begin to dissolve into the milk as it heats up.
  5. Return the pot to the stove and whisk over moderate heat until the caramel has completely dissolved into the milk. Simmer over moderately low heat until the milk mixture thickens slightly and begins to deepen in color, about 10-12 minutes.
  6. Still over medium-low heat, slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the caramel. Cook again over moderate heat, stirring, until the pudding thickens, about 1-2 minutes.  It will look a little thin at this point, not like the firm pudding cups you see in the store, but once the pudding cools, it will be thick and creamy. No worries.
  7.  Scoop the pudding into 4 ramekins or little dishes and refrigerate until chilled and set, about 2 hours. To avoid a pudding skin press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of each pudding dish as it chills.
  8. Serve chilled with a scoop of freshly whipped cream.
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