Christmas Pudding!

One of the (few) perks about having divorced parents is that your holidays come in twos. Notwithstanding the delicate maneuvering of who’s and when’s, the actual enjoyment of two sets of gifts and two lovely meals is something to look forward to.

Christmas with my mom took place Saturday afternoon: a roast, winter vegetable au gratin, sautéed kale and mashed potatoes. For dessert, custard pie and (my contribution) caramel pudding. Chicky isn’t a big dessert person, so I really enjoy using these larger family gatherings to try out new recipes. For some reason, I was really drawn to the idea of a “Christmas” pudding, even though I know a traditional pudding would be a syrup-soaked cake, British style…

I was pretty excited when I found this recipe in Food & Wine as it uses 2 percent milk and was pretty simple to make (Though as with any milk-heavy recipe, watch that it doesn’t boil over… it’s a huge mess. And yes, I’m speaking from experience).

In just about 20 minutes, you’ll have a lovely thick pudding that’s got just a hint of saltiness to it… top with a nut brittle or fresh whipped cream and you’ll be singing carols all night.

Creamy Caramel Pudding
(from Food & Wine)

1 quart 2 percent milk
1/4 c. plus 3 Tb cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. plus 2 Tb water
pinch salt

In a small bowl whisk 1/2 cup of milk with cornstarch, vanilla and salt.

In a large sauce pan combine sugar and water. Cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until a deep caramel forms, about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, whisk in 3 1/2 cups of milk, a quarter-cup at a time. Whisk over moderate heat until caramel has dissolved. Simmer until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Gradually stir in cornstarch. Cook over moderate heat until pudding is very thick- about one minute.

Put into ramekins and chill two hours. Serves 6-8, depending on the appetites of your crowd.

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