Creamy Butterscotch Pudding

Now you can make your own homemade Creamy Butterscotch Pudding!  The rich and slightly smoky flavor of butterscotch is made with one simple ingredient – brown sugar!  

Happy New Year 2019!  I’m going to try something different this year and ring in the New Year with a parfait glass of Creamy Butterscotch Pudding in hand.  That’s completely normal, right?  If not, I’m starting a new tradition.

Homemade Pudding

I’ve had butterscotch pudding before… from the little box.  But it wasn’t wasn’t until I had a butterscotch pot de creme from one of the best restaurants (in my little opinion) in San Francisco, that I gained a new found appreciation for what good butterscotch tastes like.   (That restaurant is Greens – you must go when in the Bay area) 

Now, pudding and pot de creme are technically not the same, but what is dreamy about both is the smooth, custardy texture.  I will take on the pot de creme soon … first I needed to perfect the pudding. 🙂  Update:  I made a pot de creme, and here it is!

I made this butterscotch pudding several times.  Iterating the recipe each time until I found the perfect combination of smoky butterscotch flavor and smooth texture.  Making pudding for the first time can be intimidating, it was for me.  But I assure you, you’ll be surprised and excited by what you create in the end!

Tips for making Butterscotch Pudding

  1. Get everything you need out and ready – all the ingredients, cooking utensils and serving dishes.  There’s nothing worse than searching for the spatula you need or looking for the vanilla extract when you’re right in the middle of making your creation. 
  2. Keep an eye on the brown sugar mixture while it is cooking and melting down – the difference of seconds can mean perfect butterscotch flavor to burnt butterscotch flavor.
  3. Use a soup ladle to spoon your hot butterscotch liquid into the egg yolks – the ladle is the perfect instrument for this.
  4. Whisk, whisk, whisk when you are tempering your eggs.  BUT – even if you get a few egg scrambles during this process, straining the butterscotch will take care of any lumps.
  5. To reiterate the last point – I always strain my pudding.  Even if you think you don’t have any lumps, it a good precautionary measure for a smooth, creamy pudding.
  6. Regardless of what kind of serving vessel you use to chill your pudding (bowls, glasses, mixing bowl etc.), make sure the plastic wrap is placed directly on top of the pudding to avoid a ‘skin’ forming on top of the pudding.
  7. Have fun!  If this is the first time you have made any sort of pudding, you are going to be pretty proud of yourself when you see (and taste) your final result 🙂

More Pudding Recipes

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Creamy Butterscotch Pudding

This butterscotch pudding recipe makes a rich, creamy and perfectly sweet pudding.  The color and classic sweetness of butterscotch come from the brown sugar. 
Prep10 mins
Cook25 mins
Chill2 hrs
Total2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 6 Servings
Author: Erin | Butter and Bliss

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 and 1/4 cups whole milk - 2% will work too
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3 large egg yolks - room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Separate the eggs and put the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl.
  • In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the brown sugar and water and stir with a wooden spoon or heavy-duty spatula until the sugar has melted – about 1 minute.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the mixture, without stirring, until it’s dark brown and smells like caramel – about 8 minutes.  If you prefer a smoky butterscotch flavor, cook for 10-12 minutes (the sugar will start to smoke a little).
  • Whisk in the cream.  The mixture is going to hiss and bubble and the sugar will harden and lump together – this is ok!  Then whisk in 1 cup of the milk.  Bring the mixture back to a boil and keep whisking – making sure to get the corners as well – and the mixture will liquify again as the sugar melts into the liquid.     
  • While the liquid is heating back to a boil (keep an eye on to make sure it does not boil over!), in a liquid measuring cup, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk with the cornstarch until any lumps are gone.  Whisk into the egg yolks until smooth.    
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and VERY slowly, using a soup ladle, drizzle about a cup of the butterscotch liquid into the egg yolk mixture, whisking well the whole time -this tempers the eggs so they do not scramble when added to the hot liquid.   The bowl should start to feel warm – if it does not, drizzle more of the butterscotch liquid and whisk until it does.  Take the tempered egg mixture and whisk back into the saucepan with the remaining butterscotch.  Return the saucepan to medium heat.   
  • Whisk constantly until the butterscotch starts to thicken and bubbles pop on the surface.  The butterscotch will be the right consistency when it has the same consistency of mayonnaise, and the whisk leaves tracks in butterscotch; about 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the butter and vanilla and stir until incorporated.  Start with 1 teaspoon of vanilla and taste – add the second if you want more vanilla flavor.  
  • (Optional, but highly recommended) Strain the pudding through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl before pouring into serving dishes.
  • Pour the pudding into 6 small cups, glasses or ramekins.   Cover each with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the surface of the pudding to avoid a ‘skin’ forming on top of the pudding.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Notes

  1. You can cook the sugar, butter, and water a bit longer if you want a more ‘smoky’ butterscotch flavor.   At about 8-10 minutes, the sugar will give off a strong caramel and nutty smell.  Be careful not to cook longer!  I have found that if the sugar starts to smoke, the butterscotch will taste like the top of Creme Brule – burnt.
  2. I have made this recipe without the water as well and I find that the water does help the brown sugar to dissolve nicely.
  3. You can use lower fat milk – i.e. 2%.  However, I would not use skim milk because there is not enough fat content in skim milk to aid in thickening the pudding.
  4. Tempering the egg yolks may take some practice.  Take your time drizzling in the hot liquid and make sure to keep whisking.  I use a soup ladle to drizzle in the liquid and it does require a bit of coordination to ladle/drizzle and whisk at the same time.  
  5. If you are concerned you may have gotten some ‘scrambles’ when tempering the eggs with the hot liquid, definitely strain the butterscotch.  I always strain just to be certain I don’t have any lumps.
  6. The pudding tastes awesome with a little whipped cream dolloped on top!  I love coconut cream whipped cream and you can find the recipe here.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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