Way back when I started working at The Chopping Block in 2002, we used to run a series of classes called the Building Blocks. There were 24 classes in all, and each one focused on different techniques, so by taking several of these classes you would be a well-rounded cook.
As the cooking school grew, we started offering a wider variety of curriculum and the demand for these Building Block classes decreased. Even though we do not offer these classes anymore, there are memories of them that are still alive in our current curriculum. They were just too good to leave behind!
One of the recipes that has become a staple in my own kitchen is our Butterscotch Pudding. It was always a student and staff favorite, and now it has become a favorite in my own home.
Ironically, there is typically no scotch in butterscotch pudding. The pudding gets its flavor from melting together brown sugar and butter.
You then add most of the dairy to the melted butter-brown sugar mixture, but set aside 1/2 cup of the milk in order to make a slurry with the cornstarch.
What's a slurry you ask? A slurry is a combination of usually either cornstarch or flour whisked into a liquid. It is then added to a recipe as the thickening agent. The purpose of whisking the thickening agent with the liquid is to prevent any lumps from forming.
Once the slurry has been added to the pot, it's imperative to bring the mixture to a boil in order for the cornstarch to effectively do its job. When heated to boiling, the starch granules will swell and thicken the pudding!
Once the pudding has thickened, you'll remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in one egg yolk at a time. I do this step slowly to prevent the yolks from scrambling.
If you feel like some scrambling action occurred, pass the pudding through a fine sieve to remove any clumps.
When you pour the pudding into a shallow baking dish, it's really important to cover it directly with plastic wrap so it doesn't develop a skin. Allow to completely chill, then transfer into fancy glasses or ramekins, and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
As we have made room for new classes, recipes from the past still make their way into our current curriculum. Case in point is our new Wine and Dine class this fall where you'll get to first hand learn how to make butterscotch pudding!
- Friday, October 12 6pm Merchandise Mart
- Friday, October 19 7pm Lincoln Square
- Saturday, October 27 7pm Merchandise Mart
Yield: 4-6 servings
Active time: 20 minutes
Start to finish: 2 hours, 20 minutes (includes chilling time)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- Melt the butter and sugar in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, and stir until smooth. Add the vanilla bean paste.
- Whisk in 3/4 cup milk and all of the cream. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot.
- Stir the cornstarch and salt into the remaining 1/2 cup milk. Whisk the mixture into the pudding over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the pudding thickens and comes to a boil.
- Remove from heat and whisk in egg yolks, one at a time.
- Strain the pudding through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming). Chill thoroughly, at least 2 hours. Once chilled, pour the pudding into individual ramekins or wine glasses.
- To make the whipped cream, place the heavy cream and powdered sugar in a bowl and whip by hand or with an electric mixer until medium peaks form.
- Spoon a dollop of the whipped cream on top of the chilled pudding and serve.