I’ve stated right up top on this site that if I make something and it’s terrible, I forget it ever happened. Well, this wasn’t terrible, but I don’t feel like it turned out right either. I’m presenting it because 1. it was delicious, 2. hopefully someone can tell me what went wrong, and 3. the brittle topping was an amazing little garnish. So, I read the March issue of Food and Wine with those 20 best healthy recipes ever. This creamy caramel pudding was supposedly healthy because it’s made with two percent milk instead of cream. Someone must have overlooked the two cups of sugar in the pudding plus the nut brittle topping. But, the important thing is that is looked absolutely, insanely good in the photo in the magazine, and I wanted to make it immediately whether anyone thought it was healthy or not.
I followed the instructions for cooking the sugar and water for about eight minutes until it was a deep amber. Then, I gradually added the milk, and let it simmer for ten minutes during which time it was supposed to deepen in color. It didn’t. I let it go another 10 minutes. Still no deepening. I utterly failed to achieve that incredibly, caramelly-rich color as seen in the magazine. Check that link above and compare their color to mine. Mine is taupe at best. Did I buy milk with a bleaching agent? Was my deep amber caramelized sugar to have been closer to tar in hue? No idea.
Now, the good news: It tasted great, and the texture was just right. It wasn’t too dense like a certain butterscotch pudding I tried a few months ago, and it wasn’t too thin. It tasted like caramel. The pecan brittle topping was just a lovely accent. I followed a simple brittle recipe from After Dinner which is one of my favorite books. It requires only sugar, water, nuts, and salt. You can use a combination of nuts or all of one type. I used all pecans for this. I like to sprinkle on the salt just after spreading the brittle on a baking sheet to cool. This time, I used some espresso salt that I stumbled upon the last time I was grocery shopping. The pecans with the espresso salt did an excellent job of balancing the sweetness of the pudding. I recommend this recipe for everything but the look of the pudding and would love to hear about your results if you try it and why mine was so wrong in color.