On the menu today is an old-school dessert with a seasonal twist.
That dessert would be butterscotch pudding and, to give a taste of autumn, I flavoured it with pumpkin. I also sprinkled servings of the pudding with the spices you would flavour a pumpkin pie with, making it something you could serve at Thanksgiving or another fall occasion.
In its simplest form, butterscotch is described a being a mix of butter and brown sugar. But, of course, to make butterscotch pudding you also add ingredients that will help thicken it and add further richness and volume. Things such as cornstarch, egg yolks, milk, cream, vanilla extract and bit of molasses.
In my recipe, some of the milk added when making butterscotch pudding is replaced with canned pumpkin, giving the dessert an orangey autumn hue and a mild taste of pumpkin. You could also try using fresh, homemade pumpkin puree in the pudding. Just remember that canned pumpkin is quite thick, so your homemade puree will also have to have the same consistency to yield the same results.
My recipe yields eight, half- cup servings of pudding that were poured into three-quarter- cup capacity ramekins/baking cups. You could also serve the puddings in decorative glasses that size. It’s not a large serving, but the puddings are pretty rich. That said, if you did want a larger serving, increase the serving size to three-quarter-cup and divide the puddings between six one-cup capacity ramekins/baking cups.
To further enhance the puddings, you could serve them with thin ginger cookies and, along with the whipped cream and the spice mixture, also top them with toasted nuts. See the Eric’s options part of the recipe for details on that.
Butterscotch Puddings with Pumpkin and Spice
Comforting, creamy, butterscotch puddings seasonally flavoured with pumpkin and the spices you would flavour pumpkin pie with.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: about seven minutes
Makes: 8 (about 1/2 cup) servings
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp cooking molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups homo or 2 per cent milk (divided)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream (divided)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (see Note)
1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) cold butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
• pinches ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg
Place eggs yolks, cornstarch, molasses, salt and 1/2 cup of the milk in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot, place the remaining 3/4 cup milk, 1 cup of the whipping cream, pumpkin, brown sugar and vanilla (my pot was 8-inches wide). Set over medium heat and bring the mixture, stirring occasionally, to the scalding point, just below a boil, then remove from the heat.
Very slowly whisk 1/2 cup of the hot milk/cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper it. Now very slowly whisk this mixture into the hot milk/cream mixture remaining in the pot.
Set the pot back over medium heat, bring to simmer, and whisk and cook one or two minutes, until the mixture looks like thick gravy (the pudding will further thicken as it cools). Remove hot pudding mixture from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted and well incorporated.
Set 8 (3/4 cup) ramekins or decorative glasses on a baking sheet (doing that will make it easier to transfer the puddings to the refrigerator). Carefully pour the hot pudding mixture into the ramekins or decorative glasses, filling each about two thirds full. Cool puddings to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Now wrap and refrigerate puddings until well chilled and thickened, at least four hours, or overnight.
When ready to serve, make the pumpkin spice mixture by combining cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg in a small bowl (see Eric’s options). Whip the remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Top each pudding with a small dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle with a bit of the pumpkin spice mixture and serve.
Note: This recipe won’t use an entire can of pumpkin, but the leftover pumpkin could be refrigerated a few days and later used in another dish, such as a soup or baked good. It will also freeze well.
Eric’s options: To further enhance the puddings, after topping them with the whipped cream and spice mixture, also top each serving with some toasted or candied walnut or pecan pieces. You could also serve the puddings with thin ginger cookies; such as Anna’s brand ginger thins, which are sold at many grocery stores. If you did not want to make the pumpkin spice mixture, simply sprinkle each pudding with a bit of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg.
Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.