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Bourbon Caramel Sauce with Whipped Cream

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 Tbs. strained lemon juice
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
2-1/2 cups heavy cream (1/2 cup is for the caramel sauce, the other 2 cups for whipped cream)
1/2 cup bourbon
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract


While the pudding is cooking, make the sauce. Have all the ingredients ready before beginning. Place the sugar, water and lemon juice in a large heavy saucepan. It must have at least a two quart capacity because the mixture will bubble vigorously when the cream and butter are added later, and you don't want to get burned. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat; stir only until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Continue to boil, without stirring, until the mixture starts to turn an amber color, which may take 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful, it can burn very easily; if your eyes begin to sting it means it is starting to burn. When the mixture has darkened to a rich caramel color, remove it from the heat and immediately stir in the butter, bit by bit, then a half cup of the heavy cream, and finally the bourbon and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. While the sauce is cooling, beat the remaining two cups of cream with a whisk or electric mixer until it forms soft peaks. To serve, scoop the pudding into individual bowls, drizzle on some caramel sauce (be generous), then top with a dollop of whipped cream.

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