I’m so glad I finally announced my pregnancy on the blog because LET’S TALK PREGNANCY CRAVINGS. Specifically, butterscotch pudding. Weird? Maybe. Delicious? OMG yes. And it’s actually super easy to make butterscotch pudding from scratch! Here’s how.
I don’t know how many times this pregnancy I’ve exclaimed at like 9pm “man, I wish I had some butterscotch pudding.” My amazing husband has offered more than once to go pick some up for me, but I always declined. Finally, he added it to the grocery list so I wouldn’t forget to pick some up.
But when the time came, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. One look at the ingredients on the back of the pudding mix boxes was enough to turn me off to it. I didn’t want to feed myself – or our baby girl – any of it.
So, I made it from scratch!
OK yes, this recipe is not the healthiest. But I gotta satisfy those cravings! Plus, I wanted to bring you one more dessert recipe that’s perfect for the holidays before getting super healthy on you.
If you’re looking for a pudding recipe that’s a bit more health-conscious, try this maple cinnamon pudding (it’s made with no refined sugar!).
BUT, after researching a bunch of different recipes, I played around with the ingredients a bit to use less sugar than some recipes call for. I added depth of flavor that didn’t rely solely on the sugar to achieve it. Here are the tricks I employed:
- I used browned butter. The first step of the recipe is to melt brown sugar with butter in a saucepan. Before adding the brown sugar, I browned the butter to give it a richer flavor.
- I melted the sugar until it smoked slightly. This added a deliciously deep, smoky, kind of burnt flavor to the butterscotch base, similar in flavor to what you’d find in flan or on the scorched top of a crème brûlée.
- I used whole milk and four egg yolks. Some recipes call for 2 or 3 egg yolks, but require more sugar. Some call for heavy cream and low fat milk (um, what?). I kept things simple with whole milk and more egg yolks- the fat in these ingredients also added to the flavor and texture.
- I added vanilla extract and more butter at the end. Yes, more butter. Adding a pad of it at the end adds a beautiful sheen and fresh butter flavor to the pudding, and the vanilla extract just makes it all the more flavorful.
I topped this with unsweetened whipped cream (trust me- the pudding is so sweet and rich, you won’t miss the extra sugar!) as well as some turbinado sugar. I love using turbinado sugar, especially around the holidays, because it looks sparkly and fun. The color matched the caramel color of the pudding. It’s a fun way to make something as simple as pudding look extra fancy, and this dessert would be perfect to serve at your holiday dinner! Best part? You can make it days ahead of time.
Or you could get extra fancy and throw it in a chocolate or gingerbread cookie pie crust… just sayin’.
A word of warning: use a sturdy whisk for this (I have a cheapo one that was difficult to use) and be prepared for an arm workout. You will be whisking a LOT.
Here’s how to make butterscotch pudding from scratch! I won’t be posting again until after Christmas, so I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Butterscotch Pudding from Scratch
- In a medium sized mixing bowl (preferably with a pour spout), mix together the cornstarch (1/4 cup) and kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon). Whisk in two cups of the milk gradually, making sure to smooth out any cornstarch clumps before adding more, so the mixture is smooth. Add the egg yolks (4) and whisk together until yolks are fully incorporated and broken up.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Once it's melted, whisk continuously until starting to turn brown. Add the brown sugar (3/4 cup) and whisk together until sugar is melted.
- As soon as sugar has fully melted and you see a little bit of smoke rising from the top, remove from heat and CAREFULLY and gradually whisk in the remaining 1 cup milk. The sugar may clump up and harden again- this is OK, it will melt once it heats again. Add the pot back to the heat on medium-low. Continue whisking together until all clumps are gone and mixture is smooth.
- Ladle about half of this hot mixture gradually into the cornstarch, egg, and milk mixture, whisking continually, to temper the eggs. Then, gradually pour the mixture into the pot with the rest, whisking continuously.
- Stretch your arm. Phew! This is a workout!
- Continue heating over medium heat, whisking, until pudding has thickened to desired consistency. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and remaining 1 tablespoon butter until fully melted.
- For extra smooth pudding, you can strain it into a bowl through a mesh sieve (I skipped this step).
- Refrigerate pudding in a bowl, with plastic wrap pressed down directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
- Just before serving, whisk it (again!) for a minute or so to smooth it out, then serve in individual ramekins, bowls, or glassware topped with the unsweetened whipped cream and a sprinkling of turbinado sugar. Or eat it directly out of the bowl- no judgement here! :-)
- Save the egg whites: You can use them for omelettes or scrambled eggs later!