Recipes

luxe butterscotch pudding

Happy Valentine’s Day! I thought we should make this for a date night in… erm, three weeks ago. It was on my editorial calendar and everything! (Okay I don’t have one, but it was definitely something I would have put on one.) The fact is, I’ve always been a slow cook but I’ve gotten so much worse in the last year or so, and I think I’m just getting fussier. I can’t sleep well until I know I am not making you use even one more bowl or egg yolk than the recipe requires and I wish I was joking because it sounds more quirky and charming that way.

Take this. For years, I’d be hearing about the wonder that is Butterscotch Budino from the pastry chef Dahlia Narvaez at Nancy Silverton’s Mozza, one of Los Angeles’s most famous desserts. Think of it like a classic, homey butterscotch pudding (kinda like this) made as luxe as possible with more butter, a deeper caramel, egg yolks, cream, salted caramel, whipped creme fraiche, yes, I too would be on a flight to Los Angeles right now after reading that if they weren’t all grounded.

butterscotchadd cream and milkre-melt the butterscotchan egg and two yolks plus cornstarch


[Sidebar: A budino is a custard or an unbaked pot de creme and also a pudding, but an American pudding, a British pudding seems to be — and you can tell I find this confusing, no matter how much GBBO I watch, although I’d be happy to watch another 10 seasons (hint!) if that’s what it required — a dessert course that’s either pudding-as-we-know-it or steamed cake and also it can be savory too. Sorry, I digress. The place where budinos end and all of the other cold, pudding-like desserts begin aren’t rigid.]

slowly add warm butterscotch to eggscook until thickenedyieldpoured into little cups

I finally made it, used every dish in my apartment, and it was glorious. We loved it. We shared it with friends, and I’d planned to share it with you and not too long ago I would have and that would have been the end of it but I couldn’t let go of how stressfully complicated it was. For good reason; it’s a restaurant dessert and restaurants can pull off things scaled up things we find exasperating at home on a smaller scale, with no line cooks and dishwashing staff at our disposal. Or at least no particularly useful ones.

ready to cool
luxe butterscotch pudding

Over the next couple weeks, I reviewed almost every custard and pudding formula I’ve ever used or loved and realized I could make a few tweaks that made it a little less of everything. First, I trimmed down the serving size to 6 small cups. This is not a lot of pudding, but this feels so luxurious to us, it was all we needed. Absolutely double it if your crew, or craving, is larger. I used fewer bowls (just one plus the pot), fewer egg yolks, a higher proportion of milk to cream, and I found the resulting dessert so good, it didn’t even need the salted caramel on top.

assistantsalted carameltotally safe cooking heresalted caramel

But, of course, it’s quite amazing with it, you know, when you want to be a little extra, like maybe because there’s a howling wind and sleetstorm outside and your weekend plans are derailed (a little extra rum in yours, in that case) and maybe if staying in tasted this good, we’d do it more often.

luxe butterscotch pudding with salted caramelluxe butterscotch pudding with salted caramel

Luxe Butterscotch Pudding

  • Servings: 6 petite portions
  • Source: Adapted from Dahlia Narvaez's Butterscotch Budino at Mozza
  • Print

This pudding, without any flourishes on top, is something I hope you find perfect, more luxurious and more intensely butterscotchy than the simple cornstarch-thickened butterscotch pudding I shared a few years ago. But, if you’d like to doll it up, a great dollop of whipped cream (barely sweetened and a little tangy, please) and/or a puddle of salted caramel, Mozza-style, on top are sure wins. Further ways to amp it up: You can brown that butter before you add it at the end, and you can use some scrapings from a vanilla bean (no need to sacrifice a whole one; 1/4 of a bean will take you far here) in the milk portion too (giving it a chance to warm in the pudding vs. adding it at the end will help the flavor infuse).

Let’s talk about sugar: Classic butterscotch pudding is very sweet. Popular recipes on major food sites use up to 1/2 cup brown sugar per cup of milk or cream. I find 2/3 cup total for this recipe to be sweet but not excessive, but do know it works with up to 3/4 cup brown sugar, if you want a more classic butterscotch intensity. If you plan to put caramel on top, or if know you like your butterscotch pudding more mild, use only 1/2 cup brown sugar a smidge less salt. Finally, do note that the color comes from the brown sugar caramel: the less sugar you use, the more pale that pudding will be, which is fine, but just note it will not look like the pictures.

The caramel sauce makes a scant cup. It’s more than you’ll need. I have no idea what you’ll do with the rest; probably it will go to waste. At Mozza, Dahlia Narvaez heats the cream used for the caramel with the seeds from 1/4 of a vanilla bean before adding it to the sauce. I did it once this way, the second time used vanilla sugar instead of plain sugar, and the third time, skipped it altogether. Salted caramel, in my opinion, tastes good enough without it.

    Pudding
  • 2/3 cup (125 grams) dark brown sugar [see Note]
  • 2/3 teaspoon (or a heaped 1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
  • 1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (235 ml) milk (whole or lowfat work here)
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons rum (optional)
  • Salted Caramel (optional)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) salted or unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste
  • To finish
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Sugar, to taste, if desired
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)

Make the pudding: Stir the brown sugar, water, and salt together in the bottom of a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Turn the heat on to medium-high and cook the mixture without stirring until it’s dark brown and smells caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in the cream (it’s going to hiss and bubble dramatically), then milk. The butterscotch is going to firm up when the cooler cream/milk hits it, but bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring all the way into the corners, and the butterscotch will liquefy again.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Very slowly drizzle in 1 cup of the butterscotch mixture, whisking the whole time. The bowl should feel warm, but if it does not, keep drizzling in butterscotch and whisking until it does, then whisk this back into the mixture still in the saucepan. Return the saucepan to the stove over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a bloopy, slow simmer. Whisk it, simmering, for 1 to 2 minutes; it should thicken fast.

Remove pot from heat, whisk in butter until it melts, then rum, if using, and vanilla — you can start with 1 teaspoon and add the second if you want a stronger flavor.

Pour pudding into 6 small cups (I use these glasses) and chill in fridge until fully cool and set, a few hours or overnight. If you’d like to prevent a pudding skin on top, cover the glasses tightly with plastic.

Make the salted caramel, if using it: Once the puddings are mostly cool and set, you can make the salted caramel. Combine the sugar and water in the bottom of a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, then turn heat on stove to medium-high and cook without stirring (but you can gently tip the pan to gauge color) until the sugar takes on an amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and carefully whisk butter, then cream, into the caramel (it’s going to hiss and bubble dramatically, too). If the caramel firms, you can return it to stove to gently heat it until it melts again, but I didn’t find this necessary. Add salt to taste. Let caramel cool a bit, then spoon some onto the top of each pudding and let them finish cooling.

To serve: Beat cream and 1 teaspoon sugar, if desired, until it holds very soft peaks, then beat in creme fraiche or sour cream, if desired, which should finish thickening the cream, but if it does not, gently beat for another minute until soft peaks form. Dollop some on each pudding dish and eat immediately.

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166 comments on luxe butterscotch pudding

  1. Deanna

    But the cornmeal pinenut cookies are the real star recipe, although I’m not entirely sure that’s what they’re called. I’ve been to Mozza and have the book, and those cookies are my favorite…possibly even better than the pudding.

  2. Emily

    This sounds like the perfect antidote to a bleak winter day. I was wondering if you could just use two cups of half and half instead of the cups of heavy cream and milk?

      1. Carla

        I made it entirely with whole milk, because I didn’t have any cream and I couldn’t wait. It was creamy and delicious.

  3. Jen

    Nice! I made the original recipe recently and I got around 18 servings out of it, which (a) made me very popular; and (b) made me think that perhaps I needed to scale down the recipe and make it more often. This looks like an excellent way to do so! I’ll have to give it a try. :)

  4. Cathy West

    This looks amazing, but mostly I want to thank you for the link to the glasses you used! I’m having a dinner party fundraiser next month and planning to make a chocolate budino for dessert and I’ve searched high and low for the right vessel to serve it in and these look perfect! Also kinda rethinking the chocolate in favor of butterscotch…

  5. Carrie

    Mine did not turn out quite right but still incredibly delicious. After 9 min on the stove, I thought it seemed dark and caramelized enough, but it barely seized up when I added the milk. Butterscotch flavor not as pronounced as I would have liked due to this. Homemade pudding makes me want to re-create all the banana puddings of my childhood, only better! Thanks Deb!

    1. deb

      Seizing up or not shouldn’t be an issue; it doesn’t always happen (especially if you drizzle it in and mix really well). How much sugar did you use?

      1. Carrie

        2/3 cup. Of the 8-10 min on your stove, how much of that time was it bubbling? Mine only the last 3 min if I remember right. Probably just a difference in pans.

        1. Carey

          I didn’t start timing until it was bubbling – mine bubbled for about 6 of the 8 minutes before I decided it smelled right and then proceeded from there. Mine is setting now, but what I licked off the spoon was amazing!

    2. i had the same issue, i didn’t wait until it started bubbling to time it out. My brown sugar was basically black once i added the water so the color told me nothing. I usually burn sugar so i way under cooked it this time, bubbling for only about 4 minutes, the flavor is good, just kind of plain and not very butterscotchy. I wish i’d seen this comment before i made mine so I’d know to time it after the bubbles start. Oh well, an excuse to try again – more pudding! :)

  6. Gorgeous! Simple looking but so elegant. I’ve added it to my dinner party list of recipes.

    Also, this confused me a little bit. You may need to have a look at the wording of this bit:
    “At Mozza, Nancy Silverton heats the cream used for the caramel with a quart of 1/4 of a vanilla bean”

  7. Judy Lange

    Deb, I’ve been following you since before your pregnancies and am jumping in here to say that I love your writing style, your humor, your clarity, your honesty, your insight, your recipes and… well, everything else too!
    You are gifted and I am so happy to ‘know’ you!
    Continue your adventure… and sharing it with allllll of us!

    1. Sharon

      I met Deb during one of her recent cookbook tour stops in Naperville IL and I can assure you that she is as charming and warm in person as her writings portray her! We are all happy to ‘know’ you Deb and your amazing recipes.

  8. cindy

    Wish you had also printed the original recipe or not mentioned it at all! I hate when an article says I made this amazing pudding so I changed it. At least give us a choice!

    1. cary

      or, you could google “silverton butterscotch budino” if you don’t want to make the one this writer wanted to create and talk about

  9. Mel

    I make your other butterscotch pudding often, and my family loves it. I can’t wait to try this more ‘luxe’ version. Thanks!

  10. So, my brown sugar, water salt mixture was on the stove for about 5 minutes and it smelled like it was burning. I added the milk and cream at this point, but am afraid my pudding will be missing the “luxe” flavor.

    I’m pretty accomplished at making caramel, so not sure what went wrong here (I currently have salted caramel sauce in the fridge and will use that to top it). Any ideas?

    1. Emily

      I’ve had problems with using the water method as well, but I’ve found that if it’s just lightly burnt then adding a little extra salt (to taste) can rectify some of the burnt flavor.

      1. deb

        How did it go? Funny, I never use the water method but I’ve found over the years that others find it a little easier. Basically, things go from lightly toasted to the right color more evenly, and less quickly, so it’s less stressful. But, without water you can stir it to even things out. With water, it crystalizes. (Note: Not a baking technologist! This is just what I find.)

        1. The flavor was just meh, unfortunately. It’s so funny, my mother in law and I go back and forth-she is an expert at wet caramels, and I’ve had great success with dry caramels, so I guess this continues!

          I’m going to try your other butterscotch pudding recipe you reference!

  11. Ok, so can anyone talk me through what adjustments would allow me to turn this into a butterscotch pie instead? I am wondering if I upped the cornstarch by a couple teaspoons then maybe it would stiffen sufficiently to be placed in tartlets? Because the only thing I can think of to improve this is serving it in a tiny all-butter pie crust instead of a cup….
    I may, of course, be jumping the shark on this one.

      1. I did! I subbed all the cornstarch for 40g of flour (I had had issues in the past with cornstarch-thickened custards liquifying when cold and did not want to take risks) and used the cooled pudding for… filling profiteroles choux! I let them sit in the fridge overnight and then served them doused with the salted caramel sauce. Super duper profiteroles than no one had ever tasted before. They were an absolute hit. Thanks Deb for a very very versatile recipe!

            1. smeron

              Are you all filling the pie with the pudding and then baking it? Or just using the pudding as filling and sticking in the fridge? I was thinking of doing the latter (with a chocolate cookie crust). Think I still need to thicken it?

  12. Tom

    Pudding. Has two distinct meanings, which might explain your confusion. One is the direct UK equivalent of “dessert”, so very broad. (The word “dessert” isn’t much used here and to a UK ear sounds distinctly American). The second is a steamed, traditionally suet-based, kind of dish which these days is indeed mostly found as a dessert (sticky toffee pudding, spotted dick (yes, that is a real dish)) but which originated several hundred years ago as a savoury dish, and which you can still find in a few savoury contexts today (steak and kidney pudding comes to mind). In the Bake Off they typically use the word to refer to the combination of the two things, i.e. a sweet steamed dessert.

  13. Tom

    Oh and of course there is the third meaning of pudding which is the equivalent of “boudin”, a kind of sausage, most commonly “black pudding”, a blood sausage associated in particular with Bury in Lancashire and Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, and a key component of a true full English breakfast. Which I imagine might be a surprise if you only know “pudding” as a squidgy sweet dessert.

    1. Joanna

      And, of course, there is also Yorkshire Pudding, which is a baked batter that is similar-ish to an unsweetened version of the Dutch Baby recipes that are on this site, and is often served on the same plate as a full “roast dinner” (roast beef, roast oats toes, vegetables, gravy, etc). This was presumably a cheap form of “stodge” to make the more expensive components of the meal stretch to more people. Just to add to the confusion further, in some places, Yorkshire Pudding is also served as a starter (appetiser) with onion gravy or as a pudding (dessert) with golden syrup and cream.

        1. em

          Hahaa!!! I was just about to google “roast oats toes”’and see what I’ve been missing. Love this, thanks for the laugh.

    2. Saurs

      Right. As Deb says, it’s a course, although whether you choose to refer to it as “afters,” “sweet,” or “pud” may depend upon class and region. On the sweet side of things, “pudding” is a steamed sponge (generally enveloped in something syrup-y and may involve the application of dried fruit, cf figgy and toffee varieties, cf malva), something quite close to what US Americans, amongst others, call a bread pudding (“bread and butter pudding”), or an egg-less and custard-less affair, whereby one merges over the course of several hours or days fresh fruit and old bread (“summer pudding,” as distinct from “fruit pudding”). And when you add layers of cream or custard to the latter, you’ve probably got yourself a trifle.

      Anglophones must drive speakers of other languages bonkers with all this contrariness.

  14. Pam

    Speaking of little ones ‘helping’: a friend of mine was complaining about needing a new dishwasher (mechanical kind) because theirs took a long time, running for 2 or more hours.

    Turns out her littlest one was ‘helping’ by (re) pushing the buttons when she wasn’t looking.

    1. Rachael

      I wondered the same thing and looked it up, and I *think* I found somewhere that the word butterscotch was actually one of those mispronounced words and that it just means “scorched butter.” Which makes sense if you’re burning sugar and adding butter to make a caramel.

      1. deb

        Indeed, butterscotch does not traditionally contain scotch. Wikipedia, too, says that the origin might be “scorch” (for heat) or “scotched” cut into squares, like the candy) instead.

  15. This seems like the perfect spot for Stella Park’s toasted sugar… I mean, I love brown sugar too though, so maybe I’ll have to make one of each. For science.

  16. Alex

    This looked so good that I immediately made it. The flavor is amazing, but the texture is super grainy. Any idea why? I would say that I didn’t temper my eggs enough but it looked kinda grainy before I put them in.
    Thanks!!

    1. deb

      Whoops — I forgot to mention that traditionally you’re supposed to strain custards through fine-mesh strainers to remove any possible blips. I consider it optional, and don’t usually bother. I did it the first time but didn’t the others, didn’t notice anything worth worrying about. But maybe I was just lucky. Did yours set up?

      1. victoria

        Mine was grainy as well. It set just fine- maybe even a little too much if that’s possible? I was wondering if sifting in the cornstarch would have helped.

  17. Liz

    I came to your site today to find a good use for the two egg yolks I had saved, and look what you posted!
    I like cutting the sweetness of butterscotch pudding by adding a little ground coffee with the milk, and it worked well here, especially with using 1/2 c. of sugar.
    Thanks for making decadent comfort food so easy!

  18. I worked in the Mozza pastry kitchen for two years, and I made, literally, thousands of those babies. (Don’t even get me started on those pine nut cookies… The number of rosemary sprigs I stuck in there is beyond realistic comprehension.)

    I noticed you used rum instead of scotch. Is this a personal preference or just something you had on hand?

    In order to get that real “Mozza” flavor, you have to partially burn the brown sugar. That enhances the “peaty” notes in the scotch. I have to say that if I made a budino with the color depicted in your pictures, Nancy would have described them as anemic. Nancy always told me that if I make them at home, the fire alarm has to go off, otherwise then I didn’t make them right.

    Not to say they wouldn’t be delicious. They look delightful! I just thought I would give a more complete picture to the otherwise ambiguous nature of the Mozza Butterscotch Budino.

    Cheers!

    1. deb

      Oh that’s so interesting! Thank you for sharing. The one I made from her (so called) official recipe [see here and here] was more pale — she uses less sugar than I did for the amount of dairy. It called for rum, not scotch. Tell us more, tell us more!

  19. Ellen N.

    I apologize for sounding persnickety, but the credit for this dessert doesn’t go to Nancy Silverton. Dahlia Narvaez, the pastry chef for all the Mozza restaurants, created the butterscotch budino.

    https://www.saveur.com/butterscotch-budino-pudding-recipe

    Dahlia told me that the plan was for Pizzeria Mozza to have exclusively gelato for dessert. The City of Los Angeles dragged its feet on the permit that would have allowed the use of the gelato machine, so Dahlia had to come up with another dessert. By the time the gelato machine was approved there would have been riots in the streets if she removed the butterscotch budino from the menu.

    Personally, I don’t think that any component is optional (pudding, sauce, whipped creme fraiche, cookie). They all complement each other. Countless times, I’ve taught people how to eat it correctly. You have to dip your spoon straight down to the bottom of the cup then pull it straight up so you get all three components in each bite. The rosemary/pine nut cookie provides crunch and a bit of astringency as counterpart to the sweet creaminess of the pudding.

    http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-cookiesrec5dec13-story.html

    1. deb

      So good to know, thank you! Re, optional parts: absolutely none are optional if you are aiming for the Mozza gold standard. But I found at the base of the recipe was a very good, luxurious butterscotch pudding and I want people to know how great it is solo. Please note, I really didn’t use the Mozza recipe in the end for the pudding, I use a tiny bit more sugar, less cream, fewer yolks, a couple fewer steps. But it’s close and fully inspired by it.

  20. Veronica Sheridan

    Which kosher salt do you use: Diamond or Morton? (The NYT says Morton is nearly twice as salty: “The Single Most Important Ingredient” 4/25/17) Do you always use the same kosher salt in all your recipes?

    1. suzanprincess

      Deb uses Diamond, and for good reason, as I have learned by experience. I tried Diamond on her recommendation, and love it–just can no longer find it locally (Sacramento, CA)! Morton is available, but it is more salty tasting, and to me not as good. I’m hoarding my remaining small supply of Diamond until I can force myself to pay Amazon’s price. (Ordering directly from the company is inexpensive until shipping is added, then it’s out of sight.)

  21. Beverley Taylor

    Can hardly wait to try this. It brings back happy memories of my mother’s Butterscotch Pie , the occasional but favourite treat she would make for my dad – complete with a meringue topping. (“Occasional” because it was so-o rich!). Perhaps I’ll make your pudding for St. Patrick’s Day – the day my father would be 110 years old!

    1. Jo

      Can you get lactose-free milk in your area? There’s also a lactase additive you may be able to get from a pharmacy/drugstore that you add to milk 24 hours before you want to use it and it breaks down most of the lactose.
      I’m lactose-intolerant too and I use lactose-free products, however I find I can tolerate a small amount of milk/milk products.

  22. Extra caramel sauce will never go to waste in my house. I’ll just eat it by the spoonful from the jar. The fact that this recipe makes extra caramel sauce is a bonus in my books!!
    Thanks
    Looks yummy. I have never had room in my stomach to eat dessert when I go to Mozza. Too full from all the delicious savory things.

    1. Maggietoo

      Look upthread for a reply from Marcella. She did it.

      (Deb, I really miss the comments being numbered — they were so much easier tor refer to.)

        1. deb

          Sadly, we cannot have numbered *and* threaded comments. It just doesn’t work, at best, you’d have strange numbers (34-1, 34-2, etc.). But we kept the comment permalinks! I insisted. And another redesign/refresh is in the works, I think we’ll all be happier.

          1. Sow

            Can I put in a request to “like” the comments and for the comments to be sorted based on most likes? Personally, I find myself skimming through the comment section before making a recipe to go over variations, substitutions and possible things to watch for.

            Kinda related: I would love for cookbooks to have an online bookclub where people cooking from them can share tips, variations etc. Very helpful for amateur cooks like me. This is one the reasons why I tend to use recipes from blogs more than the ones from a cookbook. I do have both of your books because I use the recipes from your blog regularly and felt like buying the book was the right way to say thanks :)

            1. deb

              We can look into comment likes, for sure. Not sure if you saw it, but Food52’s Cookbook Club is cooking through my new book this month, and there’s a very active commenting base; I’m trying to answer questions too. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/food52cookbookclub/

              Re, me adding a Q&A section here… I gotta see. Sadly, the way my work is set up, there is nobody else who can answer questions for me, and I’m already at capacity with comments and DMs and emails and basically not doing any of them particularly effectively. I say this not to complain (I love this job) but mostly to throw it out there and see how others value this stuff.

              1. Sow

                Oh I totally understand that handling a Q & A section for your cookbooks would be a time taking task in itself. I was just throwing it out there as why recipes in a blog work better for cooks like. Thanks for considering the comment likes feature, will be easier to look at the most helpful comments.

              2. Jane

                I would hate to add to your workload but I would LOVE a Q&A section for your cookbook. I think it’s mainly because I’m used to seeing everyone comments on your recipes and I miss it when I cook out of your book. But totally get it’s really time intensive. Thanks for everything you do Deb!

  23. Laura

    This was really fun to make as I have never made pudding, or caramel, before. It is so rich and decadent. I opted out of the whipped cream and I think it was a mistake because I think it would have cut the sweetness a bit. Or I would have skipped the salted caramel sauce. It’s soooooo sweet. My personal taste would have cut the sugar a bit but anyone with a hardcore sweet tooth will love love love it!

  24. Barb

    Just made this with 2/3 c. dark brown sugar. I let it go 8 minutes as I have an irrational fear of burning sugar. Everything went together well, but missed the clear butterscotch flavor. Overall taste was ‘sweet’. I didn’t strain, texture was fine. Do I need to cook longer and just leave it to the sugar gods?

    1. deb

      I should have noted that 8 is at the low end. I always needed 10 but of course wanted to account for some pots being thinner, stoves running hotter, etc.

  25. Lynn

    We enjoyed this pudding tonight! Thanks for the great recipe. My only question is – how do I know when the brown sugar is correctly caramelized? Since it is dark from the beginning, I wan’t sure when to stop cooking it.

    1. deb

      Smell, in this case. I found 8 to 10 minutes to be just right both times, but if yours starts smelling too toasty (i.e. less good), take it off.

  26. I have lived in the UK for five years and I still have no idea how to define a pudding here or what to call American-style pudding when I talk about it or make it for my British friends, and while I know that was not the point of your sidebar, I am reeeeally glad to know I’m not the only one having that dilemma!

  27. Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes

    Oh Deb, I know this must sound persnickety, but do you know the temperature? I always ruin carmelization when I’m left to my own devices, but when given specific temps (e.g., your cider caramels, which I make multiple times a year), I always succeed. (Those caramels have absolutely never come out wrong.)

    1. Sarahb1313

      Ha! I was wondering the same. I have an thermal scan reader and I couldn’t tell if I got it hot enough, so I was checking it. I didn’t get much more than 270°F, which I thought was low…. I guess I chickened out. It was very bubbly, then the bubbles became very viscous as the moisture left, and that was when the temp started to rise a bit more. White sugar is usually around 330-350°F when I make dry caramel.

  28. Sharren

    Oh man, I managed to mess this up in all the ways. First, I scorched the caramel and had floating pieces of carbon. I filtered them out and proceeded to scramble the eggs. I trashed the whole thing, started over, and they didn’t set up. I’m gonna pour those cups back into the pot and add some more cornstarch and see if I can’t pull off a rescue this evening.

  29. Erin R

    I was so excited to try this because I LOVE the Nancy Silverton recipe and have made it a number of times but it always makes so much and and I don’t ever have XL eggs etc etc. But you should modify your recipe…don’t say to bring mixture to a boil before tempering eggs, I should have known better! It just needs to be hot to temper eggs. I’m a trained pastry chef, but I nevertheless followed your instructions. Since the milk and cream came to a boil with acidic brown sugar made even more acidic by caramelization, it turned my mixture into ricotta!! In Nancy’s recipe she doesn’t say to BTB, just to liquify. Xo Love your recipes normally Deb! Thanks

    1. Sarahb1313

      Hmmmm, maybe that’s my slightly grainy issue! What would the resolution to the acidity prior to adding the dairy??

  30. Samantha

    I made this last night and it’s a BEAUTIFUL buttery pudding. Often, pudding recipes come out tasting “eggy,” but in this case it’s perfect. Agree that the portions should be small, this is RICH.

  31. Loretta Vandenberg

    I made this for dessert. It was amazing. I added a splash of rum, it was so good.
    Thank you for this recipe. 😊

  32. Sarah H

    I also found this a bit grainy, although tasty. Perhaps the sugar wasn’t caramelized enough? (I did sieve it).
    The peat whisky was a great suggestion. I can see rum working, but I’m glad I used the whiskey, it added a pleasant and contrasting note.

  33. Andrea Veilleux

    Deb – loved this recipe, and it seemed to come together perfectly, but the texture was not as silky as I had hoped for. Not grainy with sugar, but maybe a bit powdery like the corn starch. What could I do to fix this?

    1. deb

      I need to add back the sieving step — I’m sorry I’d removed it, I just so often skip it, never had a problem. (But was probably just lucky.) Sorry for the trouble.

      1. Michael

        In response to your having left out the sieving step and to other readers whose pudding came out grainy – I did sieve this and mine still came out grainy. Tastes wonderful, but the texture is off-putting.

  34. Krysten

    I have been contemplating this recipe for weeks, but was put off by the prospect of all.the.mess. Yay for slightly simplified, less dish doing, doable butterscotch budino. Putting this back in the queue.

  35. Frances

    Thanks for the recipe, these look marvelous! I’m a long time avid reader and devoted fan of your recipes Deb, ever since I made it to the US in fact. I just wanted to chip in and say, while other readers have brilliantly defined what the British mean by pudding, as a Brit I would have no idea what to call these at home and would probably say “butterscotch dessert”!

  36. jmk

    I liked this – it came together quick. I used half and half instead of heavy cream (grabbed the wrong carton) and upped the cornstarch another .rounded teaspoon. I used half the amount of rum – it was plenty for me. I’ll definitely make this again. Hopefully with cream

  37. JP

    Are you interested in any comments about your new cookbook recipes, or because the book is published would you rather me not mention any concerns or compliments? I made the banana bread roll tonight. Thanks!

      1. JP

        Well, then, in the edition I have, there is no amount given for the freshly grated nutmeg so I put in about 1/4 teaspoon. The main problem I had was after lightly sprinkling powdered sugar over the baked roll before wrapping it in parchment to cool. I have made many jelly roll style cakes before wrapped in tea towels to cool but never used parchment before. For some reason, the cake stuck quite a bit to the parchment (it left most of the top of the cake- just a thin layer of it…kind of hard to explain) when I unrolled it to frost after cooling for 45 minutes. If I try it again, I will either go back to cloth and/or heavily dust with powdered sugar. I was surprised, (but should not be knowing that you do not like particularly sweet desserts) to realize that the filling is not very sweet. I might have added more powdered sugar, but I do not consider this a fault, just a different sweetness level would have been more to my own taste. All in all, it was a win because it was a very nice presentation (and I covered the top with plenty of powdered sugar before serving). Thanks for a new look at an old favorite. I was pleased to find a recipe like this without any added oil or butter to the cake itself!

        1. deb

          Thanks for the feedback. I’m sorry you had trouble; the other feedback I’ve gotten has been all positive, but no recipe in history has ever worked exactly the same for everyone. Nutmeg I’d intended to taste; I usually just grate it a bunch of times, but don’t do it over a measuring spoon. (And if I did say, for example, 1/2 teaspoon, it would be much more intense from a jar, where it’s more powdery and compact than freshly grated, for which a 1/2 teaspoon wouldn’t be too much, thus leaving the amount open seemed safer.) I know some people like more and for others, a pinch is plenty. What kind of parchment did you use? I find that some brands are great, but others are terrible, but I always found it less sticky with parchment vs. cloth. It’s intended as a brunch or coffee cake; I didn’t want to take something simply and breakfast-y like banana bread and make it as sweet as a birthday cake, but I also assume that if someone is concerned that the frosting/filling isn’t sweet enough, that they might try it first, because there’s nothing of course raw or inedible.

          1. JP

            The parchment paper is called “Prime Source”. It comes in a box of sheets, a thousand of them. I have only used parchment paper to line pans, so using it in this way was new to me, so it could have been the wrong brand for this sort of thing. I still wonder if I had heavily powder sugared before rolling if that might have made the difference. Of course, you are right about the filling- I could have easily added more powdered sugar because even though I eat banana bread for breakfast, I don’t think I would eat this for breakfast…or would I? Nonetheless, such a fun recipe and certainly one that could be varied adding Nutella or peanut butter, etc. to the filling. The amazing thing about your cookbooks is the way you do recipes in a totally new way. Thank you for letting us all enjoy your creativity!

  38. manglin

    Ooh—butterscotch! I remember bookmarking Mozza’s budino recipe (on Epicurious?) years ago, but never attempted it because shortly after I saw it was getting awful reviews (not to mention it was complicated). Thank you for the streamlined/simplified version—I’ll definitely try this one!

    Oh, and btw, I only recently started reading and cooking from your blog (I have no idea what took me so long), and so far everything has been amazing. I too have a pint-sized wannabe sous chef who needs feeding on a regular basis, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate (relatively) simple, quick recipes that aren’t just recombined processed food. :-)

  39. Kristy

    Yesterday was a Smitten Kitchen snow day. Dutch baby for breakfast and butterscotch pudding for dessert. Thank you for your sweet sweet blog.

  40. Karen Brown

    Hi there, I’ve made the Mozza recipe several times, and have slightly adapted it myself. But it never occurred to me to scale it down. Your recipe makes a dessert is truly delicious and a perfect quantity for my family.
    As a bit of a food science geek, I used some tricks I know to address some of the issues that have showed up in the comments.
    The saltiness issue: I much prefer the salt component to be evident in the caramel sauce, rather than the pudding. I use 1/2 tsp of regular table salt in the pudding, and add flaky sea salt or kosher salt to the caramel sauce, when it’s cool enough to taste. That way I can add a little at a time, and taste as I go.
    The graininess that some commentators have mentioned is most likely not due to the cornstarch, sifted or not, but as Erin R said, the protein in the milk and cream coagulating when it meets the hot, acidic caramalised brown sugar. Less coagulation will happen if you let the caramel cool somewhat before adding the milk and cream. You have to stop the caramel continuing to cook from residual heat in the pan, so I have an inch or so of cold water ready in the sink, and as soon as the caramel is done, put the whole pan in the water. The milk/cream only needs to be tepid to gently dissolve the caramel and temper the eggs.
    I cook the pudding , then strain to get out any remaining little lumps.
    My final tip for a truly velvety pudding is to use a immersion blender(stick blender) for whisking in the butter and rum, after letting the pudding cool to barely warm. This seems to make are more emulsified pudding, with a silky finish. Cheers from NZ, Karen.
    p.s. Does anyone else think some sliced banana might taste good under the pudding?

      1. Karen Brown

        Well thank you for such consistently inspiring post! I see something on your site, and it kickstarts me to tinker and play.B.t.w., your black bean/charred corn nachos are now part of my staple repitiore. Also loving the new book. Cheers from Karen

  41. Suzanne Kaye

    On your Flicker post today there was a 404 “page not found” error, and I thought you might enjoy/appreciate this. Mary Fons, who writes a very enjoyable quilting blog (http://blog.maryfons.com/) has this as her 404 Error message:

    The paths you walk down
    lead to the treasures you seek.
    But this one does not.

    ​I do love your posts. It is as though you are either sitting in my/your kitchen, or we are talking on one of those old wall phones with a 20 ft. curly cord.

    Suzanne K​

  42. Nita

    Wow! This pudding was so rich and delicious! Everyone in my home raved about it so much that I’ve made it twice this week. I had run out of vanilla extract when I made it for the second time so I used maple extract in its place and it was still wonderfully delicious 😋 I plan on making it again with the caramel sauce and whipped cream. I actually love all the pudding recipes on your site. Your Carmel pudding used to be my favorite but this butterscotch pudding has definitely taken its place as my favorite!

  43. El Aitch

    Question: why kosher salt?
    In the midst of making this with regular sea salt (is there kosher sea salt?) I am sure it will be delicious, but I am assuming that you have a good reason and I would like to know the contribution of kosher salt in this recipe.
    Thank you!

    1. deb

      It measures slightly more consistently. Sea salt sizes and weights are all over the map. You can salt it with sea salt, but you’ll want to do it to taste.

  44. Sarah Heaton

    And really, seriously, you gotta have the accompanying rosemary shortbread to go with it. A billion extra steps, sure, but that whole dessert is perfection. Can’t wait to try your version!

  45. Kathy D

    My son and I made this for dessert tonight, with both caramel sauce and whipped cream. It’s absolutely delicious. Next time we’ll let the brown sugar go a little longer, and maybe 2T of rum instead of 1. I always err on the lower side when making a recipe for the first time – you can’t undo too much flavoring, but you can remember for the next time. Likewise, we just put a small dish of sea salt on the table so people could have salted caramel or not. So glad it turned out well, particularly because I ended up totally burning the soup I’d made for dinner and we had to call for pizza…..!

  46. Susan

    I was moved to butterscotch pudding during our rain last week and took matters into my own hands because I’ve not been totally satisfied with most that I’ve tried ( dare I say even your cornstarch version?..okay I dared!) They’ve all been too unbutterscotchy and light and had a slightly curdled/grainy looking texture. I melted 2 Tbs of the butter added the brown sugar and 1 Tbs dark corn syrup and 1 Tbs of water and cooked the water out of it and continued to cook it until darker than the usual recipe. It worked..that corn syrup smoothed out that grainy texture like a champ and the water helped the sugar melt better. Plus I added 2 egg yolks at the end of cooking to further enrich the pudding. To finish I added 2 more Tbs of butter, spilled in the rum and vanilla. Perfection..it was deeper in color and flavor and it stood up to the flavor I’d always looked for in Butterscotch pudding.

    May I ask why you didn’t use your own easy Butterscotch sauce instead of caramel sauce to top this?

    1. Susan

      PS: the cornsyrup is used in fudge recipes to help with the proper crystallization of the sugar, which is why I used it here and the dark syrup helped with the color, in this case. I imagine Light or Lyles golden syrup would work as well. 1 Tbs is plenty! (I even used 3 cups of milk..no cream at all as I was just making pudding. Next time I’ll try the topping to make it like this one.

  47. Jenny

    Just finished off the last ramekin of this and am already thinking about how soon I can get away with making it again. Like others, I got a bit nervous during the caramelizing phase and took it off the heat a little too soon, so the flavor wasn’t very intense. BUT we loved it so, so much as it was…especially because I made your hot fudge to put on top (dessert is really only dessert if there’s chcocolate involved, in my book), which was amazing. Finished with a sprinkle of sea salt and, my oh my, what a treat.

  48. Sarahb1313

    So, a few thoughts: I love love butterscotch pudding. I love love salted caramel. But I thought the caramel overwhelmed the butterscotch.
    The pudding, for me, often is a little grainy (only butterscotch)- strained or unstrained. I typically use whole eggs, only milk, and had hoped this would be less grainy (also,with the longer cooking time of the sugar), but it was the same. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Oh well.
    I find it much quicker to do the caramel dry, which I did, but otherwise followed the recipe. It’s always yummy.
    Actually, I also struggle with penuche fudge as well. And because of that won’t buy store brand brown sugar. Maybe it’s that?

  49. Alexandra

    A little more knowledge and digression about budino: I grew up in Italy and for us a budino is something you can reverse on a plate, like a creme caramel.
    A butterscotch pudding would translate in Italian as a “crema di butterscotch” as there is no translation for butterscotch.

  50. Natasha

    I made this tonight, and it was RIDICULOUSLY good. I used 2/3 cup of brown sugar, and found that even after 10 minutes on the stove, it didn’t give the pudding a super strong flavor, but adding a pinch or so of extra salt helped.

    The pointers re: tempering the eggs with hot, but not boiling butterscotch were key; I didn’t bother straining my pudding, and it still ended up smooth.

    I did make the salted caramel sauce and the whipped creme fraiche, and highly recommend both, but I did make a pretty intense, slightly bitter caramel just to temper the sweetness of the pudding a bit. My husband doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but this combo still left him scraping the bottom of the cup!! Thanks, Deb!!

  51. Whitney

    Deb, my dark brown sugar, water and salt mixture started out very dark. It was very difficult to tell when it was carmelized because it was so dark and started smelling almost burnt pretty quickly (a ways away from the 8-10 min mark). I poured the heavy cream in because I was afraid it was going to burn but it didn’t splutter so it must have been too early. Is there a better way to ensure it reaches the proper stage of carmelization? Temp perhaps? Thanks!

  52. Kelly Daiss

    Love this!
    I had a problem, my pudding was not smooth, a bit grainy, what did I do wrong?
    PS I swear I can cook!
    PSS Really enjoy your recipes!

  53. Amy Rundstrom

    Oh my, oh my, oh my. This was SO GOOD! To be honest, I skipped all of the extras (no salted caramel, no whipped cream/mascarpone), and just enjoyed it in all of its butterscotch-y deliciousness. I admitted to myself right off the bat that I was not going to share it so I didn’t pour it into individual cups. All you need with this to enjoy it fully is one big old spoon!
    Thank you so much for a really easy, fast, and amazingly decadent recipe! My only regret is that I may have to make it every week. And buy a new, stretchy, wardrobe…

  54. Jane

    Even with my cack-handed rumbling this turned out great. I didn’t have dark brown sugar and my caramel smelled almost burnt well prior to the recommended time (seven months into our new house; I should have a handle on the stove!), and I got some lumps. They were very soft but super visible (they weren’t scrambled eggs – I tempered!). And, sorry Deb, I ate this with de Ruijter chocolate sprinkles and Cool Whip. I was happy as a clam.

  55. Nomes

    Add a spoon of (salted) caramel sauce to your morning coffee/latte. It’s definately more sugar than you need that early, but utterly delicious. ANNNnnnnnnd, if your making this for a special event, you may need the next morning ;)

  56. Amy Baker-Ramstead

    Flawless results and not that much effort considering how wonderfully smooth and flavorful this is. My husband who loves butterscotch says this beats everything I’ve made, including my maple-bacon caramels!

  57. I love the butterscotch color of this pudding. I always make the simple egg pudding because my kids love it. This is an interesting new idea which I will try soon and surprise my kids! I know they will love it!

  58. Great recipe! It was my first time making such a decadent dessert. Mine came out delicious, and the week after I made it the first time, I made the caramel sauce a second time to serve over vanilla ice cream.

  59. Ellen

    For Passover, swap the cornstarch for potato starch. Use about 1/3 less potato starch for the same thickening power that cornstarch has.

  60. Jenny

    I really liked the flavours in this recipe. However, I wasn’t able to actually serve any as it was way too grainy.

    I should have followed my instincts and made this like my usual custard recipe, where the milk mixture is hot, but never boiling. It’s just too hard to properly temper the eggs with boiling milk and you get clumps. Straining didn’t help.

  61. Penelope

    I just made this pudding and have a couple comments.. after reading everyone’s story I think the graininess is due to pouring the boiling caramel into the egg mixture. Mine began to clump up too and to smell eggy. I whisked like crazy and it smoothed out but next time I’ll let the caramel cool a little first. The pudding ended up delicious but tasted just a little of cornstarch and was a tad too salty. I’ll cut both some and cook longer to get the cornstarch flavor out. No matter, the end result is so delicious and so EASY I’ll never bother with store bought again!

  62. Amy

    Hi Deb. I made this yesterday and it’s fabulous! A great recipe that is simple to do, with the result being much greater than the sum of its parts. Very sweet, very filling and totally yummy. Thank you from across the pond.

  63. Jenny

    Amazing! Made this for a cabin full of friends and everyone loved it! I made it two days ahead of time and the flavor got intensely better by Saturday when we ate it! I actually didn’t think it tasted like butterscotch much at all the morning after I made it. But by Friday night and Saturday it was awesome! I got a little scared because my cream didn’t have a super dramatic sizzle when I added it to the butter and sugar but still turned out awesome! Although, I did throw out my first batch of butter/sugar/cream because i think I added the cream before the sugar got hot enough. So be patient! Also, I had my egg mixture all ready to go so that when my cream/sugar/butter mixture was done I could get right to tempering my eggs and it worked beautifully! The instructions were very helpful! Thanks for another wonderful recipe Deb!

  64. I love this! Dairy, sugar, no list of calories, just enjoy food. Finally. In a world of Whole30, Paleo, Vegan, whatever diet of the week…a blog, devoted to food that tastes good, and feels good.

  65. Theresa

    Regarding another comment about not bring able to find Diamond kosher salt – I highly recommend Penzey’s kosher salt, which is available online at their website. It has the same sodium level as Diamond. I have been making recipes of Deb’s since her early days of blogging, and have always used Penzeys and everything comes out great.

  66. Gauri Vasudevan

    Hi deb! Love you blog. I’m making a cake for a baby shower and wanted to make a butterscotch filling more like a pastry cream? how could you suggest I adapt this recipe for a cake filling? Your input would be great to help meet the cravings of a very pregnant sister!

  67. Alana

    I made this, and it turned out beautifully, but was just not my cup of tea. So rich, so sweet, so uniformly creamy. I loved the pudding, and might try it again by itself with some sliced bananas .

  68. smeron

    Just made this with an added tbsp. of corn starch because I intend to use it as pie filling. The flavor is decent, though not quite as butterscotchy or dark as I’d like (and I left the sugar mixture to bubble for a full 10 minutes.) I strained my pudding when it was finished because I could definitely see some corn starch clumps, and it still feels a little grainy for my taste.