Memories of chocolate pudding in small glass dishes with scalloped rims take us right back to our childhood dinner tables. Now that we’re grown, and a little more “sophisticated,” dessert that comes from a box just won’t do. Beth Fink has taken this butterscotch pudding recipe from Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. Silky and creamy…so special it’s called by its Italian name, “budino.” Pudding from a box can’t hold a candle to this one.
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 egg yolks
5 tablespoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1. In a large bowl, combine the cream and milk and set aside.
2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine the brown sugar, one-half cup water and salt over medium-high heat. Cook to a smoking, dark caramel, about 10 to 12 minutes. Sugar will smell caramelized and nutty and turn a deep brown.
3. Immediately whisk the cream mixture carefully into the caramel to stop the cooking (the mixture will steam and the sugar will seize). Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks and cornstarch. Temper the hot caramel cream into the egg mixture by adding a cupful of caramel at a time, whisking constantly, until half is incorporated. Pour the egg mixture back into remaining caramel, stirring constantly with a whisk until the custard is very thick and the corn starch is cooked out, about 2 minutes.
5. Remove the custard from the heat and whisk in the butter and rum.
6. Pass the custard through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps and divide among 10 (6-ounce) ramekins leaving one-half inch at the top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill several hours or up to three days.
Caramel sauce and assembly
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 vanilla bean, scraped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons fleur de sel
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup creme fraiche
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and vanilla over medium heat, until simmering, about three minutes. Add the butter, turn off the heat and set aside.
2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the corn syrup and sugar. Add enough water to make a wet sandy texture, about one-fourth cup. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan just slightly to gauge the caramelization, until the sugar becomes a medium amber color, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the caramel from heat, carefully whisk the cream mixture into the caramel (be very careful — it will steam and bubble). Whisk to combine. Place the pan in a large bowl of ice water to cool.
4. In a chilled bowl with a wire whisk, beat the whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add the creme fraiche; whip until thick and fluffy.
5. Before serving, warm the sauce over medium heat. Spoon one tablespoon on each budino, sprinkle with one-eighth teaspoon fleur de sel and add a dollop of cream topping.
Total time: 15 minutes, plus infusing and cooling time
Servings: Makes 2 cups
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1. Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk and drop in the bean. Heat over medium heat until just simmering (do not boil), about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep half an hour. Reheat the infused milk over medium heat until almost simmering, about 3 minutes.
2. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, then temper the mixture by pouring half of the hot milk into the egg-and-sugar mixture and whisking, then pouring this back into the rest of the hot milk.
3. Stir the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, as it can curdle easily.
4. Strain the custard through a sieve into a bowl and immediately place it in an ice bath, stirring until it begins to cool. Keep the bowl in the ice bath until the custard is completely cool. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until needed.