Serves 8
¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted butter
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
¾ cup+3 tbsp (220 ml) light brown sugar, divided
2½ cups (625 ml) whipping cream, plus extra for garnish (optional)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
4 tsp (20 ml) bourbon
½ tsp (1 ml) salt
6 large egg yolks
¼ cup (60 ml) cornstarch
2 graham crackers or ginger snap cookies, crumbled, for garnish (optional)
2 McIntosh or Golden Delicious apples
2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter
1 tbsp (15 ml) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp (1 ml) finely grated orange zest
1 pinch salt


  1. To make PUDDING: Melt butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in vanilla seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter starts to change colour to a golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Whisk in 3⁄4 cup (175 ml) brown sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add cream, milk, bourbon and salt. If mixture seizes, just keep stirring over heat until smooth. Once mixture just begins to simmer, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 3 tbsp (45 ml) sugar until smooth. While continually whisking, slowly add hot cream mixture. Wipe out saucepan then strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 to 6 minutes. Mixture should thickly coat a spatula.
  3. Place eight 6oz (180ml) ramekins on a small baking sheet and carefully divide pudding mixture evenly among ramekins. Refrigerate uncovered to chill and set, about 3 to 4 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, prepare Sautéed Thyme Apples. Core and cut apples into 8 wedges. Cut each wedge in thirds crosswise.
  5. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter starts to change colour to a golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add apples, thyme, orange zest and salt. Cook, stirring and turning apples occasionally, until apples are just tender when pierced with tip of a knife, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Serve chilled puddings topped with a spoonful of warm apples. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cookie crumbs, if desired.
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