Cook the Book: Butterscotch Pudding with Sautéed Pears

Cook the Book: Butterscotch Pudding with Saut\u00e9ed Pears

[Photograph: Michael Harlan Turkell]

The first time I ventured into Tyler Kord's No. 7 in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood, I can say that my mind was truly blown. Combining fried broccoli, dill, grapefruit, and black beans didn't seem like it'd work, but somehow on the plate they mesh beautifully. Same goes for the sandwiches at No. 7 Sub, Kord's new sandwich shop in Manhattan, where our own Carey Jones agreed there was a mad scientist at play.

When it comes time for dessert, No. 7's pastry chef Amanda Clarke, an alumna of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Perry Street (Amanda used to have her own baking column here) introduces exciting flavors and textures that are still sweet enough to satisfy.

This recipe for Butterscotch Pudding with Sautéed Pears joins sweetly caramelized pears with a rum-spiked butterscotch pudding. Cooking the pears down in a combination of olive oil, sugar, and lemon and orange juices renders them sweet with a welcome hit of citrus, perfect for cutting through the rich creaminess of the butterscotch pudding. At No. 7, Clarke serves her puddings with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a few crisp shortbread cookies flavored with finely ground Turkish coffee. But at home, spooning through the pudding for the bits of caramelized pears at the bottom of the dish is more than enough to make for a wonderfully comforting fall dessert.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The New Brooklyn Cookbook to give away this week.

Adapted from The New Brooklyn Cookbook by Melissa Vaughan and Brendan Vaughan. Copyright © 2010. Published by William Morrow. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:6


  • For the sautéed pears:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 firm bartlett pears, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • For the butterscotch pudding:
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, scraped, seeds discarded
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dark rum
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • Whipped cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg


  1. 1.

    To make the pears, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pears and sugar and sauté until the sugar begins to caramelize and the pears begin to soften, 6 or 7 minutes. Add the lemon and orange juices and cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 7 minutes. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pears in a single layer to cool. Place a heaping tablespoon of pears in the bottom of 6 individual serving bowls. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    To make the pudding, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Add the molasses and salt and whisk to incorporate. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the milk until the mixture is smooth; set aside.

  3. 3.

    Combine the heavy cream, the remaining 1 cup milk, and the vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the liquid begins to steam. Remove the vanilla bean and keep the mixture warm.

  4. 4.

    Spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of a heavy medium saucepan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons water; place over medium heat and cook, without stirring, until the sugar has caramelized to an amber color, about 15 minutes. Slowly add the cream mixture in a thin
    stream. Stir well with a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine. Remove from the heat.

  5. 5.

    Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and place a clean metal bowl atop the ice.

  6. 6.

    Stir the egg yolk–cornstarch mixture, then temper by slowly pouring 1/4 cup of the hot caramel-milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Whisk in another 1/4 cup of the hot mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the remaining caramel milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils, 6 to 8 minutes. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Immediately pour the pudding into the bowl over the ice bath. Stir in the rum. When the mixture has cooled slightly, transfer to a food processor or blender. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and blend until smooth and emulsified. Pour into serving dishes over the sautéed pears to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wrap tightly with plastic. Chill for at least 4 hours, or up to 3 days.

  7. 7.

    To serve, top the pudding with whipped cream and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg. Serve 3 shortbread cookies with each bowl of pudding.