Stovetop Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

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Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • The mellow sweetness and subtle caramelization of toasted sugar are a perfect match for butterscotch.
  • Malted milk powder adds a rich and vaguely nutty flavor.
  • White chocolate adds body without making the custard too thick.

This rich and silky pudding is best served warm, when you're snuggled down on the couch in your PJs, but it's not half bad all thick and wobbly from the fridge as a midnight snack. In either case, its creamy consistency depends in part on white chocolate; our favorite supermarket brand is Green & Blacks, which has a strong vanilla flavor that doesn't distract from the combination of toasted sugar and malted milk that gives this pudding its butterscotchy character.

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 5 servings

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Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white chocolate with a strong vanilla flavor, such as Green & Black’s (1/3 cup; 55g)
  • 3 1/2 ounces quick-toasted sugar (1/2 cup; 100g) (see note)
  • 1 ounce malted milk powder, such as Carnation (1/4 cup; 25g)
  • 1/2 ounce cornstarch (4 teaspoons; 15g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
  • 5 large egg yolks (about 1/3 cup; 3 ounces; 85g yolk)
  • 12 ounces milk, any percentage will do (1 1/2 cups; 340g)
  • 1/4 ounce vanilla extract (1 1/2 teaspoons; 7ml)

Directions

  1. Roughly chop white chocolate, place in a medium bowl, and suspend a large single-mesh sieve over the top. In a 3-quart stainless steel saucier, whisk together toasted sugar, malted milk powder, cornstarch, and salt. Add egg yolks and just a splash of the milk. Whisk until no lumps remain, then whisk in the remaining milk.

  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring with the whisk until quite warm, about 4 minutes. Increase to medium heat, and gently whisk until the custard thickens, about 3 minutes, then continue cooking and whisking a minute longer. Immediately strain into the prepared bowl, pressing with a flexible spatula until the custard passes through. Add vanilla extract and stir until no longer billowing with steam. Serve warm, or refrigerate up to 1 week in an airtight container; stir before serving cold.

Special equipment

medium bowl, fine-mesh sieve, 3-quart stainless steel saucier

Notes

This recipe works great with quick-toasted sugar, but if you have some lightly toasted sugar leftover from blind baking a pie, you can use that too. For a simple variation, this recipe can also be made with a semi-refined cane sugar or a 50/50 blend of white and light brown sugar, for a flavor that's a little more molassesy but lovely in its own way.

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