Well, somebody had to do it.
And, I figured, if I'm making a salted caramel pudding, I may as well go all out ridiculously rich and make it an all egg yolk thickened custard. So, here you go, this is not a pudding for the faint of heart. A salted caramel pudding, generally inspired by David Lebovitz's ice cream recipe of the same flavor. - fiveandspice —fiveandspice
Test Kitchen Notes
Fiveandspice has built a flavor explosion in pudding form. The caramel taste is immediate and long lasting. I counted: it took a full 30 seconds after I swallowed the cool, golden, silky custard for the flavor to dissipate. My only regret was that I did not double the recipe. —cheese1227
Spread the sugar in a heavy bottomed, fairly large (about 6 qt) sauce pan. Heat the sugar over medium until the edges start to melt, then (using something heat proof) start to stir the edges and bottom of the melting sugar in toward the middle to move unmelted sugar closer to the heat. Continue to do this until all the sugar is dissolved and then keep cooking it until it turns a dark amber and starts to smell strong and dark and almost like it’s going to burn (that burnt marshmallow smell). Remove it from the heat and stir in the butter and the salt until the butter is completely melted, then whisk in the cream.
At this point the melted sugar will harden in response to the cream. Just return it to low heat and keep stirring it until it is all re-dissolved and blended into the cream. Then, stir in the cup of the milk.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they’re smooth. Then, whisk in a little (about 1/4 cup) of the warm caramel mixture. Repeat with a little more warm caramel. Then, pour this back into the pan with the rest of the caramel, stirring well, and cook this mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it has thickened enough that your stirring utensil leaves a trail and the custard can thickly coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, then press through a strainer if necessary to remove any lumps, and pour into 1 large bowl or 4 small bowls or custard cups. Press plastic wrap directly onto the custard if you wish to keep it from forming a skin. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or over night before serving. Accompany with lightly sweetened whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings.