This past weekend I went home to Ohio, and as usual my mom and I had elaborate cooking plans in store for each day. Saturday in particular we made a thrown together fruit salad with cottage cheese for breakfast, dined on hummus and grape leaves for lunch, and headed home to put together a delicious salad Nicoise for dinner. What’s missing? Dessert silly :)
I love butterscotch. I have been dying to make some kind of butterscotch dessert. After some intensive internet searching I found it, a butterscotch pudding recipe that would define my first homemade pudding experience. Apparently, my mom had made homemade pudding numerous times when my brother was young, but this was my chance to take the reins and make something foreign to me and not out of a box. I got out my deep sauce pan, propped my laptop up near the stove, and I was ready to get crazy.
After a last minute emergency cornstarch run, I dove right in. Scalding sugar and cream ended up all over the stove, sizzling and burning. Cornstarch and egg white decorated the counter. In the midst of all this my mom is trying to teach me how to temper an egg, and don’t forget I CAN’T stop stirring. About 30 minutes later, voila – homemade butterscotch pudding! To jazz it up a little I candied some pecans, crushed them, and sprinkled them on top of the pudding, for a dessert so good the whole family was fighting to lick the stove pot clean!
* Butterscotch Pudding
3 ounces butter
1 1/8 cups brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cups half and half
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk whole
3 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon vanilla (I used half of a vanilla bean, seeded)
Combine butter and brown sugar in saucepan over low heat. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring. Slowly, add half and half, stirring until smooth.
Combine cornstarch and salt in bowl. Slowly stir in 1/2 cup milk until cornstarch dissolves. This is key – if you add dry cornstarch to a larger volume of liquid, it can form lumps. Add to saucepan with remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Boil gently 2 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened (boiling appears as small bubbles at surface). Remove from heat. Take a spoon of the hot pudding mix and whisk it into the egg yolks in a separate, small bowl. Then, take whisked egg yolk mixture and add it back to the pudding saucepan (this was the temper process). Add vanilla.
Return saucepan to heat and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Serve up warm or cold in small bowls or fancy wine glasses. This recipe serves six.
Dying for the candied nuts on top? Take a large handful of pecans, throw them in a small saucepan with some butter (1 tablespoon) and brown sugar (1 tablespoon) and cook at medium heat until brown sugar really caramelizes. I added a little bit of sea salt to the pecans to bring out that sweet and salty flavor. When finished, pour nut mixture onto a cutting board and let cool for a few minutes. Take a chef’s knife and crush up the pecans. Sprinkle on top of the pudding and enjoy!