Salted Caramel Pudding

My love affair with salted caramel continues. Why stop at cupcakes, truffles, or even salted caramel sauce, when you can have these cute little salted caramel pudding cups. This is not your basic pudding; it’s kicked up a notch with a chocolate cookie base, salted caramel pudding, a layer of salted caramel, and finished off with some fresh whipped cream, and a little sprinkle of the cookie crumbs. Call it a caramel pudding parfait. And believe it or not, it’s not actually that sweet. The sweetness primarily comes from the layer of caramel on top.

There seems to be a real growing trend towards using salt and pepper in pastry, and when I received the September issue of Bon Appetit, it was showcased this trend beautifully with a wide variety of pastry infused with salt and pepper. But this pudding immediately caught my eye, and had been in the back of my mind ever since. To be honest, I’m surprised that it took me so long, but I’m glad I finally made it because it was definitely worth it.

The only thing I would change about these next time is to make a larger layer of the pudding itself. I think it would balance out everything a little bit better. If you’re looking to keep things a little bit simpler, you can eliminate the chocolate layer all together and just stick with the pudding, caramel, and whip cream; it will be pure perfection.

Notes:  My recommendation for this pudding is to assemble before serving as you want the cookie layer at the bottom to remain crisp, as I found the next day it was a bit soggy and I enjoyed the difference in textures.  However, the pudding can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.

Salted Caramel Pudding 
Makes 8 Servings (large) or 12- 14 small

Cookie Crust
1 cup finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Salted Caramel Pudding
3 cups whole milk, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup water
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons dark rum (I substituted for brandy)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Salted Caramel Sauce- 1/2 Recipe

Whipped Cream
about 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar


Cookie Crust: 
1. Mix cookie crumbs, salt, and butter in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside about 2 tablespoons of the cookie mixture for garnish. Press 2 tablespoons (for large or half for a small cup) of the cookie crumbs into the bottom of mason jars or cups. Set aside.

1. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch until combined. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk egg yolks on medium speed for about 3 minutes. (you can do this by hand but I just find it easier in a mixer)
4. To make the caramel, stir the brown sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat, and cook without stirring until an instant read thermometer reads
210 – 220 degrees. Remove from heat.
5. With stand mixer at low speed, gradually whisk in the hot milk, then the cornstarch mixture into the eggs. Slowly whisk in the caramel. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat, until the mixture thickens (coats back of a spoon) and a thermometer registers 175 degrees, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in the butter, rum, and salt. Pour through a sieve if necessary.
6. Pour 1/2 cup budino over crust in each cup. Cover and chill for 4 to 5 hours.

Salted Caramel Sauce- Click link for recipe and directions.

Whipped Cream
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the whisk attachment, whisk heavy whipping cream and sugar on high until soft peaks form.

Spoon 2 tablespoons slightly cooled salted caramel sauce over pudding and top with lightly whipped cream. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.



Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, September 2011

  • Anika Bee

    Can u make without a candy thermometer

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Anika, I think it shouldn’t be a problem to make it without a thermometer. For the caramel I would take it to a light amber color. Then for the pudding itself, cook it until it coats the back of a spoon and you can run your finger through it and it stays put. Basically pudding texture. Hope that helps! Enjoy :)

  • Lindsey Farr

    This looks delicious! I, too, have a love affair with salted caramel! This looks like the next dish for me!

  • SEB

    When you “adapted it” you should have given credit to the restaurant, Barbuzzo, who created the recipe. You forgot to change the word “budino” to pudding when you adapted it.

  • Melissa

    Is it degrees C or F? Thank you!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Melissa, it is F. I will adjust, thank you!

  • Amy

    Hi Jessica,
    How far ahead can I make the whipped cream and fully assemble the dessert? I don’t like to be making food during my dinner parties. Thx!!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Amy,

      You could make the caramel up to 2 weeks in advance, and the pudding portion about 2 days in advance. I would recommend doing the whipped cream as close to assembly as possible, because it takes just a few minutes, however the morning of should be okay. If you are going to use the cookie crust I would assemble the same day as I found it lost some of the crunch after being refrigerated overnight. Assembly is quite quick, I would just make the caramel and pudding ahead of time and that will save you a lot of work. Hope that helps! Good luck and enjoy!

  • Melissa

    I hope California Pizza Kitchen paid you royalties … they have put your dessert on their menu!

    • Jessica

      HI Melissa,
      Nope- I wish! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kate

    Let me say first of all that I and my family and friends LOVED this dessert. It is happy deliciousness in my mouth. What would be helpful is knowing how many ounces approximately is the large and small portion so I didn’t have to guess and it was a little confusing regarding the Vanilla Caramel sauce vs. the caramel you add to the pudding. I added the sauce to the pudding thinking that was what you were talking about in #5 and then realized it wasn’t. It all still was wonderful just not the presentation I wanted.
    Also my Vanilla Caramel Sauce is not so saucy after I refrigerated it. Do I need to reheat it and add more cream?

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Kate,

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it despite the confusion regarding the caramel. I will go back and revise the recipe to make it less confusing- thank you for your suggestion. In regards to the caramel sauce, heating it slightly in the microwave will make it pourable again, about 30 seconds should do the trick; no need for more cream. Hope that helps! :)

      • kate

        Hi Jessica, Thank you for your reply. It helps tremendously.

  • teresacooks

    I made these for dessert yesterday, two thumbs up from my family! They were really delicious.

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      So happy you enjoyed!

  • aimee @shugarysweets

    Holy deliciousness! This looks superb!

  • Lauren

    Do you think you could use vanilla instead of rum or brandy?

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Yes, absolutely!

  • Katee

    How long does this pudding last in the fridge?

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Katee,

      The pudding should last in the fridge 2 to 3 days. If you are going to add the cookie crust, I would do it the same day as serving as I found it lost its crunch beyond one day. Hope that helps! Enjoy!