Friday, February 5, 2010

Butterscotch Pudding

This is the pudding C Fierce would always have on her menu, if she had a menu. I hardly think this blog counts as a menu, but she could certainly argue the point.

Readers, when I introduced C Fierce to you those many (one) moons ago, I mentioned one thing in particular that you should know about her: her love for Jameson. Oh, does she love the Jameson. With a cherry, thank you. Well, I have a new way for her to enjoy it: with milk, sugar, egg yolks, and butter. Sure, it may take a little bit longer (and leave you with a few more dishes to clean up) but I'm guessing she'll have an easier time at work the next morning. Or better yet, sneaking this on her lunch break. (C Fierce Editor's Note: I do not drink Jameson at work. Not that I haven't thought about it before.)

I was on my use-up kick (notice a theme here anyone?). Lots and lots of egg yolks! I made meringues with a friend (and yes, you will hear about them, they were phenomenal) and of course we had no use for those orange things, so they got tupperwared and refrigerated (I checked, those are both verbs) I knew I'd have to act quickly to get them into something else. So I consulted my New Favorite Baking Book: Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. The book is gorgeous, big and heavy. A book with a little weight to it is a nice thing. It's nice having a heavy, weighted, lovely book, because I am a walking accident. The first recipe in (those beautiful meringues), I spilled all over its pretty pages. Now it opens to that page like a charm (there could be worse things than being reminded of delicious meringues every time you get your book off the shelf). My first cookbook I got in college (Better Homes and Gardens, Thank you Grandma Fierce!) has the front cover burnt off. That happened a year after I got it, in an off campus kitchen with a gas stove. We were making gingerbread men, I think, and I'm not sure why the stove needed to be on ... I may be a kitchen hazard.

Back to the delicious butterscotch pudding. Admittedly, I had to buy a few things for this recipe: milk (yes, I know, but I Never Drink Milk. I am much more likely to have cream in the fridge than milk. In general I think that milk is for babies (if we had more any commenters I'm sure I'd get someone irate over that) and I don't drink much of it, but when I do, its whole milk) and pecans. Now, were the pecans necessary? Not entirely. Could you enjoy this without them? Absolutely. But were they worth it? Of course.
While you're stirring the second round, enjoy the transformation that is a custard. Watch the mixture go from a splashy liquid to something glossy and smooth, so sure of itself. It is not unlike the transformation that happens with those awesome foam-grower things we had when we were kids: they come out of the capsule all teeny tiny and then all of a sudden you have a dinosaur to play with in the tub! Magic! Maybe they aren't exactly the best comparison, but they're both fun to watch. (Another C Fierce Editor's Note: Was J Fierce drinking Jamo straight out of the bottle when she wrote the preceding paragraph? And why wasn't I invited?)

I think you'll enjoy this. Much more than those pudding cup ones that may be on your grocer's shelves (but if you say anything mean about Kozy Shack on these pages your comment will be moderated). Next up on my pudding list: arborio rice pudding.

Butterscotch Pudding
Baking: From My Home to Yours

1/2 C packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp water
1 3/4 C whole milk
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp scotch whiskey (Dorie suggests a strong single malt. My philosophy with the addition of liquors to foods is in a case where it complements the dish, you want to use something with dimension and subtly. Not something that will feel, as our uncle puts it, like "the Russian army marching down your throat.")

Whipped cream and buttered, toasted pecans.

Have 6 ramekins/pudding cups at the ready, each with 4-6oz capacity. I had tupperware at the ready because ramekins do not transport quite as easily.

Put the brown sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, put the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stirring and lowering the heat if necessary, boil for 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 C milk and the cream and bring to a boil. Don't worry if it curdles. Mine did and it was delicious. Later, of course.

While the milk is heating, put the cornstarch and salt into a food processor and whir to blend. Turn them out onto a piece of wax paper, put the sugar and egg yolks into the processor and blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining 1/4 C milk and pulse just to mix, then add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to blend.

With the machine running, very slowly pour in hot liquid. Process for a few seconds, then pour everything back into the saucepan. Whisk without stopping over medium heat- making sure to get into the edges of the pan-until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles burble up to the surface and pop (about 2 min). You don't want the pudding to boil, but you do want it to thicken, so lower the heat if necessary.

Scrape the pudding back into the processor (if there's a scorched spot, avoid it as you scrape) and pulse a couple of times. Add the butter, vanilla, and scotch and pulse until everything is evenly blended.

Pour the pudding into the ramekins. If you are anti-pudding skin, press plastic wrap on the surface. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Pudding will keep 2 days in the fridge.

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