Dec 4, 2007

Butterscotch Pudding

I kept reading about this Butterscotch Budino (Italian for "pudding"). It's on the menu at LA pastry chef Nancy Silverton's new restaurant (with partner Mario Batali) Pizzeria Mozza. I've never made butterscotch pudding, but it caught my attention because my father likes butterscotch and I was looking for something to lure him away from his usual birthday choice of pecan pie.

This one is OVER. THE. TOP. It's topped with not one, but two toppings, as if the pudding alone weren't enough. It is. The recipe calls for whipped creme fraiche and a caramel sauce to dress up the pudding. I intended to try it that way. Really, I did. I bought the ingredients and everything. But I never got that far. The pudding was just too luscious all by itself. It's sweet, salty, velvety, tawny, butterscotchyness is perfect as is. Yes, I said salty. It's got a bit of salt that really adds another dimension. This is not your everyday dessert. This is a special occasion dessert. Not that it's hard to make, it's quite easy. But it's Oprah-rich. If you like butterscotch, this will be the ultimate.

The full recipe (with toppings) can be found in the New York Times. But my adaptation below is for just the pudding. Next time I'll try it with whole milk to see how it stands up with less fat.

3 cups cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg
3 egg yolks
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/8 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum

Stir or whisk together the cream and milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and cornstarch.

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, stir together brown sugar, salt and 1/2 cup of water. Stir it together initially to combine, then leave it over the heat until the edges begin to brown. After this, you can swirl the pan a bit to make sure it browns evenly. This will take about 10-12 minutes.

Whisk in the cream/milk. It may seize up. Don't worry. Just put it back over the heat, bring it up to a boil, then lower the heat to medium. Temper the eggs with a ladleful of this mixture at a time, whisking the eggs continuously. You just want to bring up the temperature of the eggs. You don't have to whisk in all of the cream and caramel mixture into the eggs. Just 2-3 ladlefuls.

Make sure the heat is turned off under the pan. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and whisk it until the custard thickens substantially. This took me 3-4 minutes. Stir in the butter and rum.

Run the mixture through a sieve and pour into ramekins or whatever you want to serve it in. Mine made about a dozen servings. This stuff is so rich it goes a long way.

Let cool completely. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Adapted from Pizzeria Mozza.

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