If I had to pick a favorite book genre, it would - without a doubt - be cookbooks. Sitting down on a Sunday afternoon by myself with a notebook, a stack of cookbooks, and a warm cup of coffee has got to be one of life's greatest pleasures.
For the past few months I have been having the best time perusing through all the cookbooks we received as wedding gifts. I've found at least a dozen new favorite recipes that I can't wait to share here. Deb Perelman, of Smitten Kitchen fame, may want to take out a restraining order on me in the near future as I swear I made about half the recipes from her book in the first three weeks I had it.
All that aside: this pudding is delicious and I hope you find the chance to make it very soon.
Best Butterscotch Pudding
ever-so-slightly adapted from the January & February 2013 issue of Cook's Illustrated
12 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup [3 1/2 ounces] granulated sugar
1/2 cup [3 1/2 ounces] dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice [I used Meyer lemon juice]
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/4 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons dark rum
*a candy thermometer is helpful Bring butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, water, corn syrup, lemon juice, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan [my 2qt saucepan worked great, but I wouldn't go any smaller.] over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar and melt butter. Once mixture is at a full rolling boil, octane cooking while stirring occasionally for approximately 5 minutes (caramel will register about 240°). Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer 12-16 minutes longer - stirring frequently + taking care to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan, until mixture is the color of dark peanut butter. The mixture should register about 300° (Mine at our altitude of ~4,000 feet took the whole 16 minutes.)
2. Remove pan from heat. Carefully pour 1/4 cup of the cream into the caramel mixture and swirl to incorporate. Once bubbling subsides, whisk vigorously and scrape corners of the pan until mixture is completely smooth - at least 30 seconds. Return pan to medium heat and gradually whisk in the remaining cream until smooth. Whisk in 2 cups of milk until mixture is smooth making sure to scrape any remaining bits of caramel.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of milk until simmering. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch together in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in hot milk until smooth; set aside.
4. Return saucepan to medium-high heat and bring mixture to a full rolling boil, whisking frequently. Once mixture is boiling rapidly and beginning to climb towards the top of the pan (this happened rather suddenly for mine,) immediately pour into bowl with yolk mixture in 1 motion. (Do not do this gradually.) Whisk thoroughly for 10-15 seconds - mixture will thicken almost immediately. Wish in vanilla and rum. Press plastic wrap or a piece of parchment paper lightly coated with vegetable oil onto the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until cold and set - at least three hours.... Or eat it immediately because it's delicious and anytime you have to put up with candy thermometer shenanigans you've earned yourself a real treat.
Bonus points if you top it with a little bit of barely sweetened whipped cream and a pinch of flaky sea salt <3