Creamy, buttery, brown sugary, old-fashioned, stove-top, tastes-like-home pudding with a warm whisper of whiskey in every smooth mouthful.
I'm not sure if it's me or my soul that eats butterscotch pudding. Every luscious mouthful cures everything that ails me, in the moment. And sweeps me back, in an instant....way, way back, to 192 Hendon Drive in Calgary.
It was the 1960's, I had sidewalk scrapes on both knees from roller skating just about everywhere I went with those old steel-wheeled, key tightened, running-shoe-holding skates under me. I boasted a most enviable collection of Nancy Drew books and Archie comics. My little mauve, portable record player knew Itchycoo Park, Indian Lake, Sugar Town, Last Kiss and oodles of other 45's by heart. Mom was in the kitchen cooking up a storm, and on the right day, standing by the stove, apron-clad, lovingly stirring butterscotch pudding, just for me. Life was good. So was the pudding.
Butterscotch pudding is home sweet home. Always has been, always will be. And have I got a treat for me you. If he had only known how much I love this particular butterscotch pudding, cool-dude, renown pastry chef and one of my favorite foodie guys, David Lebovitz, would have surely dedicated this recipe to little ol' me. David has masterfully captured the very essence and nuance of every flavour and texture that ensures butterscotch pudding's timeless comfort. Or more succinctly, 'Damn! this is good pudding.
Thanks plenty David! I remain your most humble student.
OLD-FASHIONED BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING
4 tablespoons (60g) butter, salted or unsalted
1 cup (180g) packed dark brown or cassonade sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2½ (625ml) cups whole milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons whiskey (I use 2-3 tablespoons of scotch and skip the vanilla. And once I used Navan Vanilla Cognac...mmm)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the dark brown sugar and salt, then stir until the sugar is well-moistened. Remove from heat.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with about 1/4 cup (60ml) of the milk until smooth (there should be no visible pills of cornstarch), then whisk in the eggs.
3. Gradually pour the remaining milk into the melted brown sugar, whisking constantly, then whisk in the cornstarch mixture as well.
4. Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for one minute, whisking non-stop, until the pudding thickens to the consistency of hot fudge sauce.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the whiskey and vanilla. If slightly-curdled looking, blend with immersion blender or whisk, whisk, whisk like a crazy person. (I've never experienced 'curdle' with this recipe, but I guess some have)
6. Pour into 4-6 serving glasses or custard cups and chill thoroughly, at least four hours, before serving.