I may be somewhat opinionated about where maple syrup works best since we have a large maple operation in northern Vermont. Ironically, however, I don't have much of a sweet tooth so I don't cook with it as often as one would suspect. I have experimented with it in cakes, cookies, and sauces etc. and found the flavor shines through best when mixed with a dairy product such as cream or butter. That said, maple creme brulee is one of the best vehicles for maple syrup. Since every chef in Vermont has put maple creme brulee on their menu, however, I wanted to find a somewhat different recipe so I came up with a maple pudding. It may be less refined than creme brulee but somehow that gives people license to lick the bowl when the spoon can't scrape the last little bit (an occurrence I have witnessed more than once).
I created this recipe by adapting a recipe for butterscotch pudding, substituting maple for the brown sugar. It is best served in a wine glass with a dollop of whipped cream and perhaps a simple wafer cookie. —CrewLunch
Put 1 cup of the milk, the cream, maple syrup and salt in a medium-sized pot and heat until simmered.
In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch, remaining cup of milk and egg yolks and whisk until blended.
Take about a cup of the heated milk and slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking the whole time. Return the egg mixture to the pot and slowly bring it up to a quiet simmer, with continued whisking. When the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat immediately. Incorporate the butter and vanilla, stirring constantly until the butter has disappeared.
Pudding will form a skin on the surface if left uncovered. The skin is considered by many fans to be the best part of the pudding but if you don't want it you should lay some plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Alternatively, you can ladle it directly into wine glasses or serving bowls, allow them to chill, top them with whipped cream, and the skin becomes a barrier between the pudding and the cream.