I am a pudding lover from way back – like all the way back to Snack Packs in my lunchbox. Chocolate is probably my fave, and if there is malt in it, then all the better. But I truly enjoy all the flavors (equal opportunity pudding-lover right here), and there is no doubt that if pudding is on the menu when I am eating out, then it is 100% what I am ordering. Here’s the thing though, I don’t find myself being offered or even making butterscotch pudding all that regularly, and that is something I am here to change.
Butterscotch pudding is made by cooking brown sugar and butter together (or, at least that is how I start mine) until bubbling. Warmed heavy cream is then added, essentially creating a caramel of sorts, except with brown sugar, instead of granulated. In fact the main difference between caramel sauce vs. butterscotch sauce, is that caramel is made with granulated sugar, and butterscotch, brown (and I just love butterscotch for that, as I am a big fan of using brown sugar in my baked goods for its molasses-y vibes, but I digress).
Yolks, an egg, some cornstarch and milk are whisked together and used to temper the butterscotch sauce and then combined with it, and the whole mixture is cooked until bubbling (bubbles are essential to properly activate the cornstarch, which in turn thickens the pudding. A generous glug of vanilla, as well as a hefty sprinkle of kosher salt, are added (as the vanilla helps round out the burnt sugar flavors of the pudding, and the salt makes all the flavors pop) and voila: the dreamiest of butterscotch puddings. The whole shebang takes very little time and is assembled with nothing but pantry ingredients (you’re welcome) making it the perfect, “hey, I’m craving something sweet right now,” (which, for me, is basically all of the time) kind of treat. Yes, it requires some time in the fridge to firm up, but I think I should point out that warm pudding from the stovetop, eaten out of the pot with a spoon, is one of life’s greatest pleasures, FYI. So go at it: either warm or cold (with a dollop of softly whipped cream and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt), you cannot go wrong.
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream warmed
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 5 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Softly whipped cream for serving
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Combine the sugar and butter in a medium saucepan and carefully cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the butter melts, the mixture boils, and it begins smelling caramel-like. Continue stirring for 3 minutes, lowering the heat to avoid burning, until the mixture is foamy and thickens.
- Remove from the heat, add the cream, and stir the to combine.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, milk, yolks, and egg. Return the butter/sugar mixture to medium heat. Temper the egg mixture by adding spoonfuls of the butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Once warmed, add all of the egg mixture to the butter/sugar, increase the heat to medium-high and stir constantly until large bubbles begin popping on the surface.
- Continue to whisk for 45 to 60 seconds. Remove pot from heat and strain if lumpy. Add the vanilla and salt and pour pudding into six 6-ounce ramekins. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the individual puddings to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- Serve with softly whipped cream and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.
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