(Adapted from Gale Gand)
2 1/4 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Heat the milk and cream over medium heat in a medium saucepan until simmering (about 180 degrees on a candy thermometer). Turn off the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the dark brown and 3/4 cup light brown sugar and cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, to caramelize the mixture. Mixture will be thick.
Whisking constantly, gradually add the butter/brown sugar mixture to the hot milk/cream mixture. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture. Whisk in the cornstarch and salt until dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the hot milk mixture. Whisking constantly, cook over medium-high heat until thick and just boiling. When the mixture thickens, the whisk will leave trail marks on the bottom of the pot and the mixture will have a few large bubbles boiling up to the top. Turn off the heat and strain through a fine wire mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Pour into 6 to 8 custard cups or small jelly jars and chill, uncovered, at least 2 hours or overnight.
To make the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream on high speed until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons light brown sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Top pudding with whipped cream before serving.