Sunday, January 20, 2008

When caramel doesn't turn out right, make pudding

Quite a while ago, I asked for ideas on how to use three of my failed kitchen experiments (rice-spice bread, overcooked apricot jam and too-hard caramel). The bread still sits in my freezer, awaiting its fate (I'm thinking of a savory bread pudding). The apricot jam is overcooked, but still delicious dabbed onto hot pancakes. The caramel is gone, having been used for three different creations:
  1. I melted a piece of it into milk for a tasty hot drink.
  2. I melted a piece of it into milk, then used the flavored milk as the base of a simple cocoa pudding (recipe for the cocoa pudding at Epicurious). The caramel seemed to enrich the pudding, but the caramel flavor was overwhelmed by the cocoa.
  3. Finally, and most successfully, I melted it into milk that was then used to make a vanilla-caramel pudding (recipe below).
Another potential use was suggested by Alice Medrich during the Q&A portion of her reading at Mrs. Dalloway's a few months ago: remelt the caramel and combine it with hot cream to make a caramel sauce.

Recipe: Vanilla-Caramel Pudding

1/2 cup hard caramel candy, chopped into small pieces
2 cups milk

1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) cornstarch
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt (don't use if the caramel is already salted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the milk into a saucepan or Pyrex container. Cut the caramel into small pieces and add to the milk. Heat the mixture on the stove (medium-low heat) or in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until most of the caramel has dissolved into the milk.

Mix the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt (if used) in heavy medium saucepan. Add 1 cup of the milk-caramel mixture and whisk to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in the remaining milk-caramel mixture. Whisk over medium heat until thickened and beginning to simmer, about 5 minutes. Be sure to reach your whisk into the corners of the pot. Simmer 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Divide pudding among custard cups (about 3 cups total volume is needed). Chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Adapted from New-Style Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding at epicurious.

Random link from the archive: A Technique for Pressing Tofu

Technorati tags: Dessert : Food

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