Butterscotch Pudding

My son is a major fan of creamy comfort food. He was obsessed with this pudding and its caramel notes. ❤ I loved all of the garnishes.

This recipe for this sweet treat was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. She was able to find the perfect ratio of milk to cornstarch to prevent grittiness. I found that the pudding had to cook a little bit longer to thicken.

I topped the chilled pudding with lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, toasted and sweetened sliced almonds, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Next time, I may try candied pecans instead of almonds. 🙂 The original recipe includes several other options as well.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 packed cup/165 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups/480 milliliters whole milk
  • 1 cup/240 milliliters heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or Scotch whisky, optional (I omitted it)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • freshly whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving (I lightly sweetened the whipped cream with confectioners’ sugar)
  • chopped candied ginger, sliced almonds, Demerara sugar, shaved chocolate, cocoa nibs or flaky sea salt, or a combination , for garnish, optional
  1. Put egg yolks, cornstarch and salt into a large heatproof bowl (preferably with a spout), and whisk until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. (I used a balloon whisk and a pyrex bowl with a spout.)
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine brown sugar and butter, whisking, until the brown sugar melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a sauce whisk so that I could get into the edges of the pan.) Let cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to smell like hot caramel and darkens slightly, about 1 minute longer. (Don’t walk away, or the mixture may burn.)
  3. Immediately pour the milk and cream into the pot. (It will bubble fiercely and seize up- the sugar clumps.) Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the clumps melt, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking yolks until smooth, then whisk in the remaining hot cream mixture. Pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan and place it over medium heat.
  5. Cook pudding, whisking constantly especially around the bottom and edges of the pot, until it comes to a full boil. It is important to bring the pudding to a full, vigorous boil to activate the cornstarch. Otherwise, it may not set. (If you end up with thin, runny pudding, undercooking may have been the issue.) Also- it’s okay if the eggs curdle because the mixture is strained at the end.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring the mixture constantly, until it thickens enough to mound thickly on the spoon, 4 to 10 minutes. If at any point the pudding looks curdled, whisk to help smooth it out.
  7. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof container or bowl, then stir in the Scotch or bourbon, if using, and vanilla.
  8. To prevent a skin from forming, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding. (If you like the skin, don’t cover pudding until it cools.)
  9. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  10. If garnishing the pudding with toasted sliced almonds, evenly spread them on a parchment paper-lined rimmed sheet pan; roast in a 400 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and place in a small frying pan. Top with granulated sugar, to taste, and cook over medium-low to medium heat just until the sugar melts and coats the almonds, about 1 to 2 minutes. Return to the lined baking sheet to cool.
  11. When serving, spoon pudding into dishes. Top with dollops of whipped cream, sour cream or crème fraîche, and any of the optional garnishes. (I incorporated some confectioners’ sugar into freshly whipped cream.)

Crispy Thick-Cut Oven Fries

I am not sure that I would have tried this recipe if I hadn’t seen these fries made on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen. The method is unusual- the cut potatoes are coated in a cornstarch slurry prior to being baked. This coating allows a crust to form on the outside of the fries just like a deep-fried fry. They were crispy and delicious. I’ve made them twice already! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, via Brit.co. I doubled the recipe with the exception of the oil, used Maine gold potatoes, and cut the slices smaller than suggested.

Yield: Serves 4 to 5

  • vegetable oil spray
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes or Maine gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, or more, to taste
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425°F, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Generously spray rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Pour oil into prepared sheet and tilt until surface is evenly coated with oil. (The oil spray contains a surfactant called lecithin, which prevents the oil from pooling and, in turn, prevents the potatoes from sticking. Using the oil spray also decreases the total amount of oil to 3 tablespoons, just enough to evenly coat the fries.) Note: If halving the recipe, do not modify the amount of oil used to coat the pan.
  3. Halve potatoes lengthwise and turn halves cut sides down on cutting board. Trim a thin slice from both long sides of each potato half; discard trimmings.
  4. Slice potatoes lengthwise into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick planks. (each potato slice should have 2 flat sides)
  5. Combine 2/3 cup water and cornstarch in large bowl, making sure no lumps of cornstarch remain on bottom of bowl.
  6. Microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until mixture begins to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and continue to stir until mixture thickens to pudding-like consistency. (If necessary, add up to 1 tablespoon water to achieve correct consistency.)
  7. Transfer potatoes to bowl with cornstarch mixture and toss until each plank is evenly coated.
  8. Arrange planks on prepared sheet, leaving small gaps between planks. (Some cornstarch mixture will remain in bowl.)
  9. Cover sheet tightly with lightly greased aluminum foil and bake for 12 minutes. (Covering the fries with foil ensures that they are fully tender by the end of the baking time.)
  10. Remove foil from sheet and bake until bottom of each fry is golden brown, 7 to 15 minutes.
  11. Remove sheet from oven and, using thin metal spatula, carefully flip each fry.
  12. Return sheet to oven and continue to bake until second sides are golden brown, 7 to 15 minutes longer.
  13. Sprinkle fries with 1 teaspoon salt. Using spatula, carefully toss fries to distribute salt.
  14. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and season with salt, to taste. Serve.

Exceptionally Creamy Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I have made many tried and true dinners and desserts during this quarantine period- more than usual. I was surprised to realize that I’ve never posted our gold standard and absolute favorite ice cream. This is it. 🙂

The recipe is from Food and Wine, contributed by Jeni Britton. I have made it for years! According to the recipe, the ice cream is exceptionally creamy from the inclusion of cornstarch to help thicken the base and cream cheese to make it more scoop-able. I confirm the results. Fabulous.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.  (I use a stainless steel bowl.)
  4. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean and seeds.
  5. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes.
  6. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  7. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
  8. Whisk in the salt.
  9. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
  10. Strain the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (I churn it in the ice cream maker for 25 to 30 minutes.)
  11. Pack the ice cream into a plastic container or loaf pan.
  12. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid or with additional plastic wrap.
  13. Freeze the vanilla ice cream until firm, about 4 hours.

Note: 1 tablespoon of Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste can be substituted for the split vanilla bean.

Vanilla Pudding Pops

These creamy popsicles are a great summer treat. The chilled pudding was also absolutely delicious prior to being frozen, making this a dessert that can be enjoyed year-round. 🙂

This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living’s Everyday Food. An easy crowd pleaser.

Yield: 7-10 ice pops (depending on the size of the popsicle mold)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    1. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
    2. Gradually whisk in milk, mixing until ingredients are dissolved. Whisk in egg yolks.
    3. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble sputters. Reduce heat to low; continue to whisk, and cook 1 minute.
    4. Remove from heat, and immediately pour through sieve into bowl; stir in vanilla.
    5. Using a funnel, divide mixture among ice-pop molds.
    6. Chill in refrigerator until cool and thickened, about 1 hour.
    7. Insert pop sticks, and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours and up to 2 weeks.
    8. Dip molds briefly in warm water to release pops.

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