Friday, March 13, 2009

Caramel Pudding with Pecan Brittle

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.



28 comments:

  1. i think this looks just lovely. the pecan brittle has my mouth watering... and the caramel pudding sounds tasty, too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That picture is all business - brittle, caramel all wrapped up in a pudding - what could be better?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I post recipes that come out great, good and crappy.

    The photos are so good, I can't imagine that this isn't in the great category!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It looks wonderful and you said it tastes delicious so it should be considered a definite success!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lisa, your pudding looks perfect to me! Did you remove the saucepan frm the heat first before u whisked in the milk gradually? Did u continue to whisk with moderate heat and then simmer over moderately low heat? Just my wild guess. Hope it helps.

    ReplyDelete
  6. sorry it didn't turn out as wonderfully as you had hoped. i struggle with caramel myself, so i won't even try to offer any advice. :)
    frankly, i'd be satisfied with the brittle alone. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. For me, if it tastes delicious, that's OK. And it's very nice that you share such experiences with us. By the way, photo is great!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lisa, i think this looks so tasty!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. looks yummy and that nut brittle looks so good!

    ReplyDelete
  10. sorry it didn't turn out as you hope to but it does sound and look wonderful. Sorry, can't help as I don't have much experience with making caramel.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the look of the pudding and pecan brittle. What a great combination of flavours!

    ReplyDelete
  12. LOL at F&W for calling a 1/4 cup of sugar per serving a healthy recipe!

    It could be that your caramel should have been darker, but another explanation is that the pan F&W used was wider so they had more surface area for the milk to heat up, caramelize and reduce more. Taste is all important though, so I have to try it with soy milk and see how it comes out.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Caramel pudding and pecan brittle...mm...

    ReplyDelete
  14. It is pale, but still caramel-y. I hate when things don't turn out as they are supposed to. F&W has problems that way. But this still looks terrific!

    ReplyDelete
  15. It came pretty close!! It looks really scrumptious!! I think all that is important here is that it tasted good. Love the topping! I've never seen espresso salt, sounds interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looks fantastic to me! Plus, who knows? Maybe they just adjusted the color of their pudding after the picture was taken! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I had a very similar experience with a recipe recently - Caramel Pots de Creme. Same deal - very pale, but tasted caramely. I'm just assuming that I didn't get my sugar caramelized deeply enough before adding the cream and such. Hopefully someone who really knows will weigh in and let us know! Nonetheless, your recipe looks delish!

    ReplyDelete
  18. THAT looks mighty tasty.

    You could get a richer color by darkening the sugar more before adding the milk. Somewhere in the neighborhood just short of Joe Pastry's ridiculously dark caramel

    ReplyDelete
  19. This sounds wonderful--I love butterscotch pudding from scratch but not the amount of cream it usually requires.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I wonder if the magazine photo of the pudding was like those cover shots of supermodels -- air-brushed to perfection? Yours may not be the same color, but it looks fab, nevertheless.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This absolutely looks wonderful! Who cares about the color? Maybe they missed a step in the recipe? As long as it tastes good, I wouldn't worry about getting the same look :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's hard to nowadays trust photos in magazines...yours looks beautiful and delicious. Your brittle looks as dark and rich as it should, complimenting the caramel beautifully.!
    ronell

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sometimes it takes SO much longer to make caramel turn colors that a recipe says. I can sometimes take as much as 30 minutes. Next time just stick through it, because it will turn all of a sudden and give you that rich amber color! It will JUST start to smoke... that's when you should add the milk! Either way, it looks beautiful and sounds like it tasted wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dear Lisa, I just gave you an award!!
    Why???
    check out my latest post why!!!! www.sophiesfoodiefiles.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wonderful combination!! Caramel pudding and pecan brittle.. I am loving it!! Photo is gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Photo is gorgeous, and if I made brittle I would so be in trouble! You are on a delicious roll in your cooking Lisa! Hubby would like this pudding, he is such a pudding, custard, and bread pudding freak!

    ReplyDelete
  27. It looks great to me. I recently made a stab at making pralines and something in the sugar chemistry went wrong and despite taking it to the right temperature on a candy thermometer it failed to setup. I just poured it over ice cream though and it was delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great looking pecan brittle. Just looking at it makes me feel like a Pavlov dog.

    ReplyDelete

Blogging tips