It’s hard to improve on the creamy indulgence of puddings and custards, but chef Jonathon Sawyer of Cleveland’s Greenhouse Tavern does just that. He created this luscious dessert to brilliantly play off the flavor of salted popcorn with the sweetness of vanilla pudding.
time 30 min plus 2 hr chilling
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, cream, sugar and salt and bring to a boil over moderate
heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
In a medium pot, heat the oil. Add the popcorn kernels, cover and cook over moderate heat until they start popping. Cook, shaking the pot constantly, until the popping has almost stopped, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour all but 1 cup of the popcorn into the cream mixture, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Reserve the remaining popcorn for garnish.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch
until smooth. Strain the hot cream mixture into a clean medium saucepan; discard the solids. Bring the cream to a boil over moderate heat. Gradually whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks, then scrape the mixture into the saucepan. Whisk the pudding over moderate heat until it just comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Stir in the butter and vanilla.
Scrape the pudding into a medium baking dish. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface
of the pudding and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with the reserved popcorn and serve.