“Maple pudding,” he announced, looking happy.
“Oh?” I had no appetite at all yet, but maple pudding sounded at least innocuous, and I made no objection as he scooped up a spoonful, guiding it toward my mouth with the concentration of a man flying an airliner.
“I can feed myself, you kn—” He slipped the spoon between my lips, and I resignedly sucked the pudding off it. Amazing revelations of creamy sweetness immediately exploded in my mouth, and I closed my eyes in minor ecstasy, recalling.
“Oh, God,” I said. “I’d forgotten what good food tastes like.”
“I knew ye hadn’t been eating,” he said with satisfaction. “Here, have more.”
I insisted upon taking the spoon myself, and managed half the dish; Jamie ate the other half, at my urging.
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
The word “skink” comes from the German schinke, meaning shin. While the textbook skink is a soup made from a shin of beef, Highland fisherfolk adapted the recipe to use the regional ingredients they had in plenty, such as smoked haddock and leeks.
More substantial than a soup but not as thick as a chowder, serve with a crusty loaf of bread or Mrs. Bug’s Buttermilk Drop Biscuits for a filling lunch. Add a salad to that, and you’ve got dinner.
Serves 6 to 8
In a saucepan, gently heat the milk and maple syrup over medium-low heat until simmering. DO NOT BOIL.
In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and egg yolks into a smooth paste. Slowly whisk in the cream and salt.
Remove about a cup of the heated milk and pour it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour this tempered mixture back into the pot and increase the heat to medium. Bring it to a boil, whisking regularly. Boil for 2 minutes, whisking, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove it from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until completely incorporated and smooth.
To prevent a skin from forming, pour the pudding into a bowl, lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, and refrigerate until cool. To serve, spoon into dishes and top with whipped cream.
Alternatively, if you would like to keep the skin, spoon the pudding directly into serving dishes and chill, unwrapped, in the refrigerator. Top with whipped cream when ready to serve.
Store the leftovers covered in the fridge up to 3 days.