This salted caramel pudding recipe is this week’s entry for the reddit 52 weeks of baking challenge (Week 43: No Oven). If I hadn’t recently made my peanut butter Rice Krispie treats, I might have made those again for this bake. But I opted instead for a different nostalgic dessert.
Pudding is one of those things that everyone should make from scratch at least once. Because making homemade pudding is only slightly more challenging than instant pudding from a box. And you’re rewarded with a creamy treat you can make in almost any flavor.
Tips and tricks for this recipe
The hardest part of this pudding recipe is making the caramel. When I screw up caramel, it’s usually because I’ve cooked it too quickly and let it get too dark. But you can also mess up caramel by stirring it, which can cause the caramel to crystallize.
I would recommend using a wide pan to have a thin layer of sugar, and one with sloping sides if you have one. Heat the sugar slowly to prevent getting focal spots that burn before all of the sugar can melt. It also helps to tilt the pan around to get a more even melt once it has started.
Panels 4 to 6 of this photo show the sugar moving into the liquid phase. It’s here that you will want to pay the most attention as it can burn quite quickly. You’re looking for a color somewhere between new and old copper penny.
You can use your nose, but don’t try to taste caramel as it’s cooking. It is very hot!
Once you have the right color, you’ll want to stop the cooking. Remove the pan from the heat, add the warmed cream, and stir to dissolve the caramel.
Add the larger quantity of milk.
And then the milk-cornstarch mixture. Heat slowly and whisk the mixture gently but constantly until it thickens. This is where having a pan with sloped sides comes in very handy.
Add the butter and vanilla. Then pour the caramel into a large bowl, or ladle it into smaller ramekins. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap to avoid it forming a “skin”. And put it into the refrigerator to cool and solidify for at least two hours and no more than one day.
FAQs about this salted caramel pudding recipe
In the U.S., a pudding is typically dairy-based and thickened with cornstarch. A custard is often thickened with eggs or egg yolks.
Just like it sounds, it is flakes of salt with a fine crystal texture and irregular shapes. It’s a finishing salt and much more expensive than your everyday cooking salt. You could sub a small amount of another salt here, but go easy on it.
Pudding is best on the day it is made, but it can be frozen. In fact, I’m really tempted to make another batch to see how it does as pudding pops!
Salted Caramel Pudding
- ½ cup (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons (43 grams or 1.5 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- flaky sea salt for serving
- Put the sugar into a thin layer in a large pot or frying pan.1/2 cup (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- Warm the cream in a small pot.1/2 cup heavy cream
- Combine 1/2 cup of the milk with the cornstarch and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups whole milk, divided
- Ready all the ingredients, except for the flaky sea salt, by the stove.3 tablespoons (43 grams or 1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat the sugar over low heat. As it starts to melt, do not stir it, but you can tilt and swirl the pan to avoid an uneven melt. The goal is for the sugar to reach a uniform deep copper color without burning. This should take about 10 minutes, depending on how quickly or slowly you heat the sugar.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately add the warmed cream. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir to combine.
- Add the 1 1/2 cups of milk (the larger amount without the cornstarch) and heat until small bubbles are starting to form. Do not let the mixture boil. If at any point it looks like it is about to boil, remove the pan from the burner and turn down the heat slightly.
- Add the milk and cornstarch mixture and heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is noticeably thicker and starts to coat the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and vanilla.
- Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl or 4 small ramekins and cover with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap down onto the surface of the pudding to prevent skin formation.
- Chill at least 2 hours to overnight.
- Serve topped with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.flaky sea salt for serving
If you make this salted caramel pudding or have any questions or suggestions about it, please leave a comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram!
Check out other uglyducklingbakery desserts like these salted caramel chip chocolate cookies
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Week 1: New Year new recipe – blueberry galette
Week 2: seasonal – Smitten Kitchen’s grapefruit pound cake
Week 3: Great British Bake Off – Kate’s sticky toffee apple caramel cake
Week 4: Australia – sausage rolls
Week 5: bite sized – cookies
Week 6: Chinese New Year – mushroom bao
Week 7: new tool – baguette baker
Week 8: chocolate – chocolate peanut butter bonbons
Week 9: timed bake – under 1 hour! chocolate chip scones
Week 10: allergy/diet restriction – macarons
Week 11: quick breads – kale and cheese quick bread
Week 12: signature bake – purple cow bread
Week 13: enriched breads (kale and cheese babka fail)
Week 14: childhood favorite –fudgy triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting
Week 15: decorating challenge – purple velvet cake
Week 16: crispy crunchy – bacon cheddar popcorn
Week 17: p52 of a favorite cookbook, or your favorite blog – chocolate peanut butter drip cake
Week 18: pâte à choux – bacon cheese puffs
Week 19: veggies turned sweet – red velvet beet waffles
Week 20: plating – chocolate chip cookie (butter challenge)
Week 21: Birthday Party! – chocolate orange cake
Weed 22: Scandinavian – Swedish apple cake (plus a bonus sourdough discard apple cake)
Week 23: Layers – Pecan apple oat bars (post is pending)
Week 24: Tarts – rainbow fruit tart
Week 25: Bagels and donuts – maple donut cake
Week 26: Surprise inside – surprise heart yeast bread (pending)
Week 27: Local favorite – Rainier cherry crisp
Week 28: Seasonal ingredients – blackberry lemon bread
Week 29: French dessert – peanut butter banana clafoutis (a classic with non-classic flavors!)
Week 30: Savory baking – pizza
Week 31: Unusual ingredient – juniper lime drizzle cake
Week 32: Gelatin (homemade marshmallows) and 33: Picnic – peanut butter Rice Krispie treats
Week 34: Brunch – spinach and feta muffins
Week 35: Laminated dough – puff pastry cinnamon twists
Week 36: Friendship challenge – chocolate chip marshmallow cookie bars
Week 37: Sweet and salty – salted caramel chip chocolate cookies
Week 38: Decoration challenge – royal icing
Week 39: Buns and biscuits – challah buns
Week 40: West Indies – mini banana muffins with coconut
Week 41: Pantry challenge – chocolate chip pound cake
Week 42: Celebrity or tread – ube crinkle cookies
Next week: Diwali