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Butterscotch Pudding

david lebovitz butterscotch puddingDid you ever just turn the corner on a flavor? Spend years detesting it and then, suddenly, out of nowhere, loving it? I think this might be happening to me with butterscotch. I avoided it my entire childhood (though I can’t tell you why) and then, out of the blue, was moved to make these tasty Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scotchies.

The cookies were a first step towards a repaired relationship with the confection, but I needed to know if they were a fluke. I craved a pure butterscotch treat to help me get to the bottom of this turn of palate. Butterscotch sauce? I’d have to combine it with something. Butterscotch candy? Too quick a bite. Butterscotch pudding? Maybe. Butterscotch pudding by famed pastry chef, author and all-around genius, David Lebovitz? Bingo!

The verdict? I’m most definitely digging butterscotch. So much so that I can’t imagine why I avoided it in the first place! It’s a flavor based on brown sugar and butter, two of the most fabulous ingredients known to man. In fact, this pudding tastes a little bit like cookie dough without the chips. This is a good thing, people.

If you’re into butterscotch, you’ve got to make this. And if you think you’re not into butterscotch, you’ve got to make this. You just might turn the corner, like me.

Oh, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I’d be remiss to not suggest this pudding as a holiday dessert. Warm butterscotch flavor is the perfect finish to an autumnal Thanksgiving Day meal, and creamy pudding is a great break from traditional pies and cakes.

Butterscotch Pudding
4-6 servings

recipe by David Lebovitz, adapted from his book Ripe For Dessert (HarperCollins)

4 Tbsp butter, salted or unsalted
1 c packed dark brown
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2½ c whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp whiskey*
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add dark brown sugar and salt; stir until the sugar is well-moistened. Remove from heat.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup milk until smooth (there should be no visible pills of cornstarch). Whisk in the eggs.

3. Gradually pour remaining milk into the melted brown sugar, whisking constantly, then whisk in the cornstarch mixture as well.

4. Return pan to heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for one minute, whisking non-stop, until the pudding thickens to the consistency of hot fudge sauce.

5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and whiskey, if using. If slightly curdled looking, carefully blend the pudding in a food processor or blender, in two batches, until smooth.

6. Pour into 4-6 serving glasses or custard cups and chill thoroughly, at least four hours, before serving.

*Note: The whiskey’s optional. I didn’t use it this time and have no complaints. But I plan to try it with whiskey next time. Just because!

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