food porn: $240 worth of pudding
It seems that Food Network only has about 10 episodes total of both Nigella’s shows, so I see the same ones over and over again. I’ve seen her toddle home in an evening dress after a night out and make this pudding tons of times. It always looks easy when she does it, though it has some methods that kinda frighten me a bit in the kitchen.
First: I hate trying to make any sort of caramel or cooked sugar sauce. That stuff goes from golden to burnt just when you turn your back and there’s no rescuing it. Gods help you if it splatters as those sweet drops will take your skin off! My main problem with such things in the past, however, has been that I am too timid, opt for a lower heat, longer cook cycle and end up with it firming up into a rock hard candy substance that, I believe, could stop bullets. Second: There’s adding eggs to hot liquid. Every cooking show host tells you to temper the eggs, but they rarely do so on camera, so you can sometimes see the eggs cooking a bit when they mix.** The thought of screwing this up and having to start two things over again has scared me off of ever trying it at all!
Both turned out well last night, though. I did overcook the sugar a wee bit, but I didn’t burn it. And the liquid cooled down quickly enough when taken off the heat that the eggs didn’t scramble as soon as they made it in. Ambidextrous whisking ability is a good thing. As some of the reviews on the page noted, it’s not a terribly sweet recipe, so I sprinkled a little bit of sugar over the top before baking, but it still turned out well when paired with some Häagen-Dazs frozen yogurt and a splash of cream* over the top.
On the episode, Nigella implies that she made and had the pudding for dinner. In its natural state, it could be substantial enough as a meal on its own, but I will enjoy it in smaller portions for dessert over the next few days.
* I cheated a bit on the recipe and used Half and Half for both the milk and heavy cream. And in place of bourbon, I used cognac. Everything else was per directions.
** Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa always says, “Careful… you don’t want scrambled eggs!” yet she doesn’t always prep a backup bowl with either tempered eggs or a cooler liquid for taping.