Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding

Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding

Salted Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding

I have always been a fan of pudding.

Chocolate

wins out most of the time for me,

though I do have fond memories of Butterscotch pudding while growing up.

 It’s my mom’s favorite. We rarely let it get cool; warm butterscotch pudding, mmmmm! No need to wait, just dig in!

But I recently found out that my husband is a lover of vanilla pudding.  Really?

Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding 2
Here it is without a crisp brulee crust.

Vanilla to me has always been a boring flavor. Its like picking white as your favorite color, is it really even a color? I mean, isn’t the absence of color?  Vanilla is an ingredient that you add to enhance another flavor.

Then we were introduced to Crème brûlée.

Creme Brulee - Chefology2015
Creme Brulee – Chefology2015

Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding

Can you believe I had never tasted Creme Brulee before? It seems I have been deprived.

My son Jacob and I are working through America’s Test Kitchen’s book “The Science of Good Cooking” and blogging our lab experiments. You can see our progress at Chefology2015. We have loved every experiment, but Creme Brulee may be our favorite.

After finishing all our ramekins of Creme brulee my husband asked for more.  Only problem, it was 6 in the evening.  Creme brulee needs at least 6 hours of cooling let alone the cooking process.  Too late my dear.  What about Vanilla pudding with a crisp caramel crust?

Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding 4

Maybe that would satisfiy him.  So I took out my good Ol’ Betty Crocker cookbook, but made some changes.  Instead of all milk, I added half milk, half heavy cream, omitted the butter and vanilla extract, and added half a vanilla bean in its place. Since it didn’t need a water bath, it could be cooked on the stove and sent to the fridge for a quick cool down. Then a sprinkle of sugar and a hot torching to caramelize the crust on top. Would it be close enough after enjoying such a perfectly smooth custard offered by the creme brulee?

Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding 4

It did the trick. My husband was satisfied.

Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding 5

 Plus a little drizzle of caramel and a sprinkle of salt.

Maybe we should call it

Quick Creme Brulee?

 

Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding

Salted and Caramelized Vanilla Bean Pudding 6

Ingredients:

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 a vanilla bean, scraped of seeds

2 large egg yolks, slightly beaten

5 -6 teaspoons raw sugar (turbinado, or demura)

 

Preparation:

  • In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in milk and cream. Add vanilla bean and seeds.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
  •  Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into egg yolks, then stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. 
  • Pour pudding into dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.
  • 30 minutes before serving sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar and torch with a butane kitchen torch.
  • Optional – drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with fleur de sel (salt).
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