March 11, 2009

Recipe of the Day - Creamy Caramel Pudding

I've hit that point in the winter where Spring keeps teasing me with somewhat warmer temperatures, only to drop down into the freezing range once the afternoon rolls around. I'm ready for lightweight trench coats and bare legs - I'm tired of tights and leggings. And socks too. Let the sandal wearing commence!

But to keep warm during these last few weeks of winter, I found this delicious caramel pudding recipe. Put this on the stove, dish up, and watch while eating the Biggest Loser, because hey - those people still haven't hit their goal weights yet so we all can still feel a bit slimmer.

It's Not Quite Spring Yet, So Let's Break Out the Creamy Caramel Pudding Recipe

Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Mixing bowls
Large suacepan
Fine strainer
8 1/2-cup ramekins

1 quart 2-percent milk
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 cups sugar
Nut brittle, for serving (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the milk with the cornstarch, vanilla and salt until smooth. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Very gradually whisk in the remaining 3 1/2 cups of milk, 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk over moderate heat until the caramel has dissolved. Simmer over moderately low heat until the mixture thickens slightly and deepens in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk the cornstarch mixture into the caramel. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the pudding is very thick, about 1 minute. Strain the pudding through a fine strainer set over a large measuring cup. Scrape the pudding into eight 1/2-cup ramekins and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Garnish with nut brittle, if desired.

The pudding can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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