Sunday, February 28, 2010

Butterscotch Pudding with Salted Whipped Cream

I’ve been on a butterscotch kick lately. It all started with the brown butter blondies I made awhile back – their butter-and-brown sugar flavor profile has had me thinking about butterscotch desserts ever since. A few weeks later, I made a butterscotch sauce to top some ice cream sundaes I served when we had family over to visit. Then I experimented with butterscotch pudding on Super Bowl Sunday, but felt the recipe wasn’t quite there yet, so it didn’t get blogged.

After I had a butterscotch sundae at Ted Drewes last night, I felt sufficiently inspired to try out another butterscotch pudding recipe. I found a different recipe from one of my favorite dessert cookbooks (one you’ve seen before), Diner Desserts, by Tish Boyle. Like every other recipe I’ve made out of that cookbook, it didn’t disappoint me.

Despite the inclusion of the word “scotch” in the name “butterscotch,” there actually isn’t supposed to be any scotch in traditionally-made butterscotch. (If you want, you can add a tablespoon of scotch and make less-traditional butterscotch pudding, but for the most authentic pudding, it should be left out.)

“Real” butterscotch flavor is created by butter and brown sugar. Therefore, any butterscotch-flavored dessert is necessarily going to be rather sweet. To counter all that sugar, the pudding tastes great with a little bit of extra salt. I suggest topping the pudding with salted whipped cream.  You could skip the whipped cream and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt directly on top of each of your puddings just before serving them.

When I’m making pudding, I like to set out all of my ingredients in advance. Making pudding isn’t too difficult, but it requires that you whisk the mixture almost constantly, so you can’t take time to set the whisk down and fuss over the next ingredient.

Butterscotch Pudding with Salted Whipped Cream
6 servings

Pudding ingredients:
3 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 Tbsp scotch – optional (see above)

Salted Whipped Cream ingredients:
1/2 cup whipping cream
A generous pinch of kosher salt

First, make the pudding. It needs time to chill in your refrigerator prior to serving it, so start it at least three or four hours in advance.

I start by preparing my ingredients. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Use a fork to whisk them together and set the bowl aside for later. You’ll need a one-cup scoop later, so set the scoop near the egg yolks so you’ll have it handy.

Measure out your butter. Go ahead and cut it into tablespoons. Set the butter aside. Keep your bottle of vanilla (and the scotch, if you’re going to use it) nearby because you’ll need to add it when you add the butter.

You’ll need six small dishes for your pudding. Locate them and set them nearby.

In a medium saucepan, off of the heat, stir together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. The mixture should look very sandy.

Gradually whisk in the milk and the half-and-half. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. (As you’re whisking, the consistency will change from a liquid to a thick pudding.) Once the mixture begins to bubble, remove it from the heat.

Using the one-cup scoop you set aside earlier, ladle out approximately one cup of the milk/sugar mixture into the whisked egg yolks. Vigorously whisk the egg yolk mixture to combine everything, then transfer the egg yolk mixture back to the remaining milk/sugar mixture in the saucepan. Keep whisking everything until it is combined.

(If you don’t whisk constantly, your eggs can cook improperly and leave chunks in your pudding. If this should happen, don’t get too upset, you can pass the pudding through a sieve later. The pudding won’t have the exact same texture, but it’ll still be very edible. But try to keep whisking constantly to avoid the chunks!)

Return the pudding to medium heat - keep whisking - until the mixture comes back to a boil. Continue to boil, whisking constantly, for one minute. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter pieces until they are completely melted. Whisk in the vanilla and the scotch, if you’re using it.  If you need to strain your pudding, do so now.

Pour the pudding into your serving dishes. Cover the dishes with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding, and refrigerate it for several hours, until it is well-chilled.

Just prior to serving the pudding, make the salted whipped cream:

Place the whipping cream and the salt in a medium bowl. Whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Spoon or pipe the whipped cream onto your pudding.


  1. YUM! I love that cookbook. Ive only tried a few things so far. You've inspired me to try this! I love all your great photos!

  2. Thank you Naomi and Kathleen!

  3. Wow!That looks really good.I love salted caramels but the salted whipped cream with this pudding sure got my attention.If you won't mind, I'd really love to guide foodista readers to your site. Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and you're all set. Thanks!