Salted Caramel Pudding Parfaits

232_Salted Caramel Pudding Parfait

Credit: “Excerpted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Peden and Munk.”

 Serves 6

At some point in the last decade, the marriage of caramel and salt became a perennial one on dessert menus. What took us so long? Here is a luscious representation. Serve it in parfait glasses or a clear serving dish so the layers are visible.

1 ½ cups (12 ounces) heavy cream

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (7.5 ounces) sugar

3 cups (24 ounces) whole milk, at room temperature

½ cup (5 ounces) Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)

1 ½ teaspoons fleur de sel

 

1. Whisk together ½ cup of the heavy cream, the cornstarch, and vanilla paste in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Put 1 cup of the sugar into a medium copper or heavy stainless steel saucepan and set over medium heat. As the sugar heats, you will see it start to melt around the edges and then turn golden in color, in 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or heatproof silicone spatula, nudge the sugar slightly on one side. You will see liquid caramel slowly move out from underneath the granular sugar. Very slowly start to move the sugar into the liquid caramel. Do not rush this process—if the caramel starts to look grainy, you are incorporating the sugar too quickly. If the caramel starts to smoke or get very dark, remove the pan from the heat until the smoking subsides or lower the heat.

3. When the sugar has completely melted and is dark amber in color, turn off the heat and pour in the milk—it will bubble up. When the bubbles settle down, turn the heat on to low and whisk the milk and caramel together, then cook, whisking, to dissolve any hardened bits of caramel.

4. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the caramel and continue cooking, stirring, until the pudding thickens and coats the back of the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

5. Pour the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap so the pudding doesn’t form a skin and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (The pudding can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.)

TO ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the remaining 1 cup cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar until firm peaks form.

2. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of caramel sauce into the bottom of each parfait glass. Scoop about 1/2 cup of pudding into the glass, drizzle with another 1 to 2 teaspoons caramel sauce, and top with a large dollop of whipped cream. Drizzle a little more caramel sauce over the whipped cream, finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel, and serve immediately.

CARAMEL SAUCE

Makes about 1 cup

 

1 1/3 cups (9.25 ounces) sugar

3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream

1/4 cup (2.75 ounces) light corn syrup

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Put the sugar into a medium copper or heavy stainless steel saucepan and set over medium heat. Pour the cream and corn syrup into a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat.

2. As the sugar heats, you will see it start to melt around the edges and then turn golden in color, in 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or heatproof silicone spatula, nudge the sugar slightly on one side. You will see liquid caramel slowly move out from underneath the granular sugar. Very slowly start to move the sugar into the liquid caramel. Do not rush this process—if the caramel starts to look grainy, you are incorporating the sugar too quickly. If the caramel starts to smoke or get very dark, remove the pan from the heat until the smoking subsides or lower the heat.

3. Meanwhile, watch the cream: You want it to come to a boil when the sugar reaches the liquid caramel stage, so adjust the timing accordingly by raising or lowering the heat under the cream (if the cream comes to a boil too early, just remove it from the heat).

4. When the sugar has completely melted and is dark amber in color, remove from the heat and pour in the cream—it will bubble substantially. When the caramel has settled down, stir the ingredients together until smooth. Add the butter and salt and stir until smooth, about 30 seconds.

5. Pour the hot caramel into a heatproof jar or container and let cool completely.

6. The caramel sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Bring to room temperature or reheat gently before serving.

 

TIP: Try this sauce drizzled over a slice of Vanilla Bean Cake or with your favorite ice cream.

 

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Article from the Indulgence Issue