Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding with Caramel Sauce


Pudding:
4 tablespoons (60g) butter, unsalted
1 cup (180g) packed dark brown 
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2½ (625ml) cups whole milk
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the dark brown sugar and salt, then stir until the sugar is well-moistened. Remove from heat. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with about 1/4 cup (60ml) of the milk until smooth (there should be no visible pills of cornstarch), then whisk in the eggs. Gradually pour the remaining milk into the melted brown sugar, whisking constantly, then whisk in the cornstarch mixture as well. 

Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for one minute, whisking non-stop, until the pudding thickens to the consistency of hot fudge sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon and vanilla. 

If slightly-curdled looking, blend in a blender or food processor. Or you can run it through a sieve (I did this!!). Pour into 4-6 serving glasses or custard cups and chill thoroughly, at least four hours, before serving. Also, since I hate pudding skin, I put a piece of plastic wrap on each of the puddings' surfaces to prevent it from forming.

Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup, room temperature

In a medium pot, over medium high heat, cook the sugar and water until it turns a dark, deep caramel. Watch it the entire time! Do not walk away! It takes about 8 minutes. Add the butter cubes and stir. 

Next, turn off the heat and pour in the heavy cream and whisk. The caramel shouldn't seize up since it's room temperature. If it does, simply turn the flame on medium and cook, whisking, until it's smooth and lovely. See!! Caramel isn't that scary!!  

Toasted Salted Peanuts:
1 cup of peanuts
1 tablespoon of coarse Kosher salt

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Spread out peanuts onto a small baking sheet. Sprinkle them with kosher salt. And bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. 

To assemble: 

Top each ramekin of cooled pudding with a few tablespoons of caramel sauce. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle on a few toasted salted peanuts. 

Yields about 4-6 jars of pudding
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