She didn’t know how else to describe it. She’d been there for four weeks, three days, two hours and 22 minutes and every second had been perfect. Italy swayed and now she did too.
At the moment, she was sitting on a hill in Gaiol, in the tall grass. She was wearing shoes that were entirely inappropriate for the impromptu hike she’d taken that morning. She’d been spurred on by the September sun and the way it spilled into the stone house, flooding the corners and cracks with light, turning everything into caramel. She’d hurried outside, down the path and up the hill, through the trees before remembering she was still in her slippers.
Her suede slippers with the sheepskin lining. The only remnants of her old life. Ruined by dew.
Remember when I said these were my favorite photos? I have new favorite photos now. Apparently, I just really love pictures of messy spoons. Oooh, Nicole! Can you make me a messy spoon montage?!
Let’s talk about this pudding, shall we? Look at it- LOOKATIT. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful in your life? Don’t you just want to be alone with it and stick your face in that cup? Well, you can’t. You haven’t made it yet and your head is too big for that cup.
I’m sorry. That was way harsh of me. But it’s raining and I don’t have a job and my head is too big for that cup too, if it makes you feel any better.
What were we talking about again?
Caramel Budino with Salted Caramel Sauce
Recipe makes 8
Notes: From Nicole- It said that the pudding should be strained through cheesecloth, which I didn’t have so I just skipped that step and it turned out just fine. It also said the caramel should be strained which I didn’t do either and it still tasted great. I also didn’t have a candy thermometer so I just estimated the cooking times/temps and it came out fine. So yeah, a little more difficult/time consuming recipe, but it tastes really delicious and (as you can see- Judi) is super pretty.
For the Cookie Crust
1 Cup of finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs (BA suggests Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers; about 20 cookies)
2 TBsp of unsalted butter (melted)
1/8 tsp of kosher salt
For the Budino (Italian for pudding)
3 Cups of whole milk, divided
1/4 Cup of cornstarch
3/4 Cup of (packed) dark brown sugar
5 large egg yolks
3 TBsp of unsalted butter
2 tsp of dark rum
1 tsp of kosher salt
For the Salted Caramel Sauce
3/4 Cup + 2 TBsp of heavy cream, divided
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 Cup of sugar
2 TBsp of light corn syrup
4 TBsp (or 1/2 stick) of chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Directions (In just 3 Easy Steps!*)
1. Make the Cookie Crust
- Mix cookie crumbs, butter, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Place 2 TBsp of mixture in a small bowl; cover and chill for garnish.
- Press 2 TBsp of cookie mixture onto the bottom of each of eight 8-ounce mason jars or ramekins.
2. Make the Budino (Pudding)
- Whisk 1/2 Cup of milk and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.
- Heat remaining 2 1/2 cups milk in a small saucepan just to a simmer; set aside.
- To make caramel, stir sugar and 3/4 cup water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; cook without stirring until an instant-read thermometer registers 210°–220°. Or just watch it like a hawk until it achieves that deep golden brown color. Panic a little over it. Mop the sweat from your brow. Write “Buy a friggin’ candy thermometer!” on your shopping list because nothing is worth this stress, honestly.
- Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and set over a large pitcher.
- Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl.
- Gradually whisk in hot milk, then cornstarch mixture.
- Slowly whisk in caramel. Return mixture to saucepan.
- Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and a thermometer registers 175°, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat; whisk in butter, rum, and salt. Pour through prepared sieve. (I can just see Nicole being like, “Yeah, I’m not doing that. This recipe is crazy!”)
3. Make the Salted Caramel Sauce
Spoon 2 tablespoons caramel sauce over each budino. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle some of reserved cookie crumbs over each.