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~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~

IMG_9874My three favorite flavors of pudding are butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla (in that order). They're all creamy and dreamy, but something wonderful happens when brown sugar and butter team up to make real-deal butterscotch.  Homemade pudding (from scratch, not a box), was something my grandmother made often -- just for me.  I'm in my early 60's, that was back in the latter 50's, and: there is no letting go of homemade pudding memories.  Whether it was butterscotch, chocolate or vanilla, she'd always leave me an ample sample, in the bottom of her enamelware saucepan and on the wooden spoon, because:  I adored it warm and freshly made.   Homemade pudding is one of life's simple pleasures and making butterscotch pudding is one of my favorite pleasures.

IMG_9884Something wonderful happens when brown sugar & butter team up:

IMG_9811Originally, butterscotch was a hard candy made from brown sugar, butter and water, in which the sugar got boiled to the soft crack stage.  Since hard candy was hard to cut or break into pretty, even-sized pieces, the butterscotch got "scotched" or "scored", to make cleaner cuts after it hardened.  Nowadays, butterscotch is the word used to describe the flavor of brown sugar and butter cooked together with other ingredients (like corn syrup, cream and vanilla or butter rum flavorings, as well as cornstarch or flour and eggs/egg yolks) to make sauce, pudding, pie filling and cookies.  Butterscotch is also available in the form of baking chips and liquid flavoring too.

IMG_97651  cup heavy cream + 1 cup whole milk, or, 2 cups half and half

1  tablespoon each:  pure butterscotch and pure vanilla extract

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

3  tablespoons salted butter

2  large egg yolks

1  large egg

3/4  cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar

3  tablespoons cornstarch 

IMG_9769 IMG_9772 IMG_9774 IMG_9776~Step 1.  In a 2-cup measuring container, measure and stir together the cream and milk or half and half, both extracts and the salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, using a fork, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks and whole egg.  Set aside.  Cut the butter into small cubes and set aside.

IMG_9779 IMG_9780 IMG_9787 IMG_9790~Step 2.  Measure and place the brown sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucier or saucepan. Using a wire whisk, thoroughly combine the two.  Whisk in all of the flavored milk mixture, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.  Turn heat on to medium. Whisking constantly, heat until steaming 2-3 minutes.  Do not simmer or boil.  Turn the heat off, add the butter and whisk until butter is melted and thoroughly incorporated.  Remove from heat.

IMG_9795 IMG_9800 IMG_9804Step 3.  Slowly and in a thin stream, while whisking the eggs constantly with a fork, add 3-4 tablespoons of the steaming liquid to the eggs.  (Note:  This is called "tempering" and it will raise their temperature slowly and just enough to keep them from scrambling upon contact with the steaming hot milk mixture.)  In a slow, steady stream, whisk the tempered eggs into the milk mixture.  Return saucier to stovetop.

IMG_9811 IMG_9819~ Step 4.  Over medium heat, whisking constantly, bring mixture slowly to a simmer, 4-5 minutes. Simmer gently, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and transfer to a 1-quart measuring container.*  Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the pudding and cool about two hours.  Stir and portion into custard cups, cover and chill for several hours (or overnight), or, use as directed in recipe.

*Note:  A lot of pudding recipes instruct to pass the pudding through a fine mesh strainer (into the measuring container) at this point, to achieve an extra-silky-smooth consistency.  This is the type of unnecessary nonsense that causes people to not make pudding.  #1.  Pudding is too thick to pass through a fine strainer or any strainer.  Try it.  It'll make you want to jump off a bridge.

Portion 3/4 cup pudding into each of 4, 1-cup custard cups:

IMG_9824Freshly-whipped cream & chopped pecans on mine please:

IMG_9845How to:  Make Homemade Butterscotch Pudding:  Recipe yields 3 cups pudding/4 servings.

Special Equipment List:  2-cup measuring container; fork; paring knife; cutting board; 3-quart saucier or saucepan; wire whisk; 1-quart measuring container; plastic wrap; 4, 1-cup custard cups

IMG_3751Cook's Note:  About the only thing I like better than chocolate, vanilla or butterscotch pudding is all of them layered on top of each other with graham crackers separating each flavor.  This dessert, ~ Chocolate, Vanilla and Butterscotch 'Icebox' Cake  ~ was one of my mother's specialties.  I would sit motionless on the counterstool, eyes transfixed on the process, patiently waiting for my lick of the spoon as each pudding got cooked.  Once assembled, she'd put the 'icebox' cake in the refrigerator for what seemed like an eternity, but, it had to chill to set up properly -- well worth the wait.  Eat more pudding.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


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