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Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding

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  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into smal pieces, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup English toffee bits

Recipe Preparation

  • Stir 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan. Remove from heat. Add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until smooth. Set caramel sauce aside.

  • Mix brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens and boils, about 8 minutes. Whisk in caramel sauce.

  • Whisk egg yolks in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk 1 cup warm caramel mixture into yolks. Gradually whisk yolk mixture back into caramel mixture in saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Gradually whisk in butter, Scotch, and vanilla.

  • Divide pudding among 8 parfait glasses. Chill until cold, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day. Top puddings with banana slices, whipped cream, and toffee bits.

Recipe by Wildwood Restaurant Portland ORReviews Section

Homemade Butterscotch Pudding

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

Updated on Aug 25, 2020 by Kelly 32 Comments

Homemade Butterscotch Pudding is as yummy as it sounds. Seriously…what a dreamy word – butterscotch is!

“I’m tempted by everything. My husband makes fun of me because every day it’s a new food that I love. I have a weakness for butterscotch pudding, ice cream in any flavor and dark chocolate, although that’s one thing I do keep in my house – 70% dark chocolate.” – Gail Simmons

Butterscotch anything has to be one of my top favorite flavors of all time.

What amazes me is that I’ve never made a butterscotch recipe for myself – ever in the history of my life. How can that be possible?

While browsing through my enormous pile of recipes to make, I came across this one. Well, you had me at Mollie.

If you don’t know who Mollie Katzen is – let me enlighten you. She is a famous vegetarian chef that has written a series of cookbooks. Her most famous cookbook is the Moosewood Cookbook.

I seriously love her recipes. Hungarian Mushroom Soup is one of her other recipes I featured on my blog. I tweaked the recipe a bit – it had way too much parsley in it – but that recipe is a keeper. You can find it here.

Butterscotch pudding is a cure-all for many things in my book. Have a bad day? Have a little pudding. Too much to do? Slow down and enjoy the yummy taste of butterscotch.

Now here’s the kicker. All these years and I’ve never made myself homemade butterscotch pudding – yet it is so darn simple. There’s a total of six ingredients in this recipe – the most exotic one is vanilla extract.

Who the heck knew that this pudding would be one of the easiest recipes I have ever made? Not me that’s for sure.

Ninety-nine percent of the time I have the ingredients on hand…without making a special trip to the store. I bet you do too.

So let’s get to this amazing recipe, so you can wind down, get cozy and treat yourself to a sweet snack at the end of the day.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium heatproof bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine dark-brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, cream, and egg yolks add to saucepan.

Whisking constantly, cook over medium-high until mixture thickens and is bubbling, 8 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking, 1 minute.

Remove pan from heat and pour mixture through sieve into bowl. Stir in butter and vanilla until combined.

Press plastic wrap directly against surface of pudding to prevent skin from forming and refrigerate 3 hours (or up to 3 days). To serve, whisk until smooth and divide among four small bowls.

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The Best Butterscotch Pudding Is Homemade

This unfussy, old-fashioned recipe is easy to stir together on top of the stove, and hard to mess up.

There was a time in my life when I made a stand for custard over pudding.

Puddings, I decided, were temperamental things, rife with the potential for curdled eggs, grittiness from too much cornstarch or a soupy texture.

Custards, like French pots de crème or Italian budini, were more sophisticated and reliable. They can be baked slowly in a water bath so the eggs don’t curdle, and emerge silky and dense without any cornstarch to grit things up.

After years of persistent custard-making, though, it occurred to me that, by banishing pudding, I was missing out on pudding skin. And as the pandemic wore on and my appetite for creamy comfort food grew, a batch of old-fashioned butterscotch pudding — covered with a sticky, stretchy skin — was exactly what I was craving.

Custards can form skins, too, a result of heating the milk. But puddings, which need to be cooked uncovered at a higher temperature, can grow thicker skins. And these are much more satisfying to a pudding-skin lover like myself.

(A note to skin haters: You can prevent it by pressing a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly on the pudding or custard surface as it cools.)

As for the temperamental nature of cornstarch puddings, there are some ways to keep the pitfalls at bay.

The first is to activate the cornstarch by making sure to bring the pudding mixture to a full, bubble-popping boil. The second is to let the pudding cook, stirring, until it thickens enough to mound on the spoon before you take it off the heat. This ensures that it will set properly.

All this boiling does increase the risk of curdling the egg yolks. The easiest fix is to simply strain the mixture after cooking any coagulated bits of egg will be left in the sieve.

And using a ratio of 1 tablespoon cornstarch for every cup of milk or cream keeps things smooth and free of grit.

The flavor of butterscotch pudding comes from dark brown sugar that’s been caramelized in butter and rounded out with vanilla. I also like to spike the mixture with a little bourbon for depth, but you could also tip in Scotch for a savory smokiness, and as a nod to the name.

With or without the booze, a bowl of homemade butterscotch pudding is about as soothing as dessert gets, a sweet, creamy comfort to any pandemic-weary soul.

Butterscotch Pudding - Recipes

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Add the Ingredients to the Pot

Add the ingredients into the Sauce Pot and stir to combine.

Cooking Steps

1. Begin Cooking the Caramel

Preheat the Sauce Pot to 250°F/ 120°C (low) and allow to cook for 10 minutes or until the caramel base has reduced to half its volume. While the caramel base cooks, continue with the recipe.

2. Measure and Combine the Custard Base

While the caramel cooks, mix the following ingredients in a bowl, whisk well and set aside.

  • Egg Yolks 3
  • Vanilla Extract 1 tsp.
  • Dark Spiced Rum 1 tsp.
  • Cornstarch 2 ½ Tbsps.
  • Dark Brown Sugar ¼ cup

3. Add the Cream and Bring to a Simmer

Add the cream to the caramel base and bring to a simmer while whisking occasionally.

4. Pour the Caramel over the Custard Base

Turn the heat off and carefully pour the caramel over the egg mixture, whisking continuously.

5. Pour the Butterscotch Pudding Back into the Cookware

6. Finish Cooking the Pudding

Set the temperature to 220°F/ 105°C (low), and cook for 7 minutes while whisking frequently as it thickens.

7. Measure and Add the Butter

Turn the heat off and whisk in the diced butter until completely incorporated.

8. Strain and Portion the Pudding

Pass the pudding through a fine mesh strainer to ensure it is smooth.

9. Serve as Desired

Pour the pudding into individual cups and allow to cool but you can also enjoy it while it is warm. Top with your favorite fruit or whipped cream. You can also use it to fill cakes, tarts or enjoy by itself!

Homemade Butterscotch Pudding Recipe from Scratch

I&rsquove got a new favorite low carb ingredient! It&rsquos coconut cream.

Are following a Paleo diet or just want to cut out some dairy? Coconut cream is the perfect dairy free substitute for heavy cream in low carb recipes. Of course, it&rsquos not the best option if you are allergic to coconut or just don&rsquot like the taste of coconut.

I buy my Coconut Cream from LC Foods or Thrive Market. You may also be able to get it at an Asian market or Trader Joe&rsquos.

Another product that I&rsquove recently fell in love with is Sukrin Gold. It&rsquos my favorite product from SukrinUSA because I finally found the perfect low carb substitute for brown sugar after years of searching for it.

I have tried other brown sugar replacements, but always turned to adding a little blackstrap molasses to get that authentic taste and texture that brown sugar brings. No need for that anymore!

One of my favorite flavors made with brown sugar is butterscotch. It&rsquos difficult to create this flavor without molasses, but Sukrin Gold does a nice job and it shouldn&rsquot spike your glucose levels like molasses can.

For this homemade butterscotch pudding recipe, I did use butter. But, ghee could be used for paleo.

To make this pudding low carb, I used coconut cream and Sukrin Gold. There are my two new favorite ingredients.

Although I&rsquove been moving away from using xanthan gum, I still have a little bit left in my bottle so it was the thickener I used. Guar gum is less controversial than xanthan gum.

I&rsquove seen some low carb recipes that use psyllium husk in place of xanthan gum, but I haven&rsquot done a lot with psyllium. I need to experiment more with using psyllium husk as a thickener, but guar gum works just like xanthan gum.

This homemade butterscotch pudding recipe from scratch was thick enough to use as a pie filling. It did seem a bit thin after adding the xanthan gum. But, the pudding gets really thick after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours.

You can spoon the pudding into individual serving dishes if you&rsquod like. A little goes a long way because it&rsquos very high fat. So, it&rsquos very filling.

I opted to pour the hot pudding into one big bowl and lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top so a skin didn&rsquot form. Totally optional.

You can always peel the skin off if you don&rsquot like the idea of plastic touching your food. This homemade butterscotch pudding recipe from scratch is also super cute in little shot glasses topped with whipped cream.

A shot glass portion is the perfect serving size as the high fat of the Coconut Cream will fill you up fast. So, definitely give this low carb pudding from scratch a try!

Butterscotch Pudding


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325°F and set a kettle of water to boil. Set four ramekins or oven-safe bowls out and a large baking dish.

In a saucepan melt the butter. Once melted add the brown sugar and salt, stir until well combined.

Add the cream and milk to the sugar mixture. Heat until steamy and tiny, pinprick-sized bubbles begin to show around the side of the pot and the ingredients are combined (about 170°F to 180°F). You do not want it to boil or even simmer as this will cause scalding or curdling of the milk. Remove from heat immediately.

Slowly, in a thin stream, pour the heated sugar-dairy mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it.

Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour through a fine mesh sieve to catch any cooked bits of egg.

Ladle the mixture evenly into the ramekins. Place ramekins in a heavy bottomed pan and pour the hot water into the pan until the water rises halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Lightly tent the entire pan (not each individual ramekin) with some vented foil. The foil can simply be crimped on two opposite sides, it shouldn't be airtight.

Bake at 325°F for 45-50 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pan half way through cooking. If you shake them they will have a jell-o-like wobble. It should not ripple or move like a liquid when you shake it. Don't worry as they will set up after they cool. Chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Scotch whisky
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Turbinado sugar, for garnish

Make the piecrust Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool.

In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the pecans until finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until pea-size pieces form. Add the ice water and pulse until a dough starts to come together. Transfer the dough into a 9-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press it evenly over the bottom and up the side. Prick the piecrust all over with a fork, then freeze it for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Put the piecrust on a large baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes, until the edge is lightly browned and the crust is firm. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling In a small saucepan, bring the milk and 1/2 cup of the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the brown sugar and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk mixture.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the cornstarch and salt. Very gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the milk mixture. Scrape the mixture into the medium saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 7 minutes. Strain the pudding into a medium bowl and stir in the Scotch and vanilla. Let cool slightly, then press a piece of plastic directly on the surface and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Scrape the butterscotch filling into the piecrust and smooth the top. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of cream until stiff peaks form. Mound the whipped cream on the pie and garnish with turbinado sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of pecans. Cut the pie into wedges and serve.

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