Salty Butterscotch Pudding

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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725 grams (3 cups) whole milk

121 grams (1/2 cup) heavy cream 

3 grams (3/4 teaspoon) fine sea salt 

160 grams (3/4 cup) packed dark brown sugar 

28 grams (1/4 cup) cornstarch 

108 grams (4 large) egg yolks, at room temperature 

10 grams (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract 

Flaky salt, for sprinkling 


  1. Combine the milk, cream, salt, and 50 grams (1/4 cup) of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the remaining 99 grams (1/2 cup) sugar and the cornstarch. 
  3. When the milk mixture has come to a simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low. Whisk the egg yolks into the sugar-and-cornstarch mixture, then pour in about one third of the hot milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan and cook the pudding, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula and taking care to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan, until the pudding gets very thick and comes to "first boil" (a large bubble will rise to the surface in the center), 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. 
  4. Pour the pudding into a large heatproof bowl (shallow if you want it to cool quickly) or six 6-ounce ramekins, custard cups, or other individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming (if you secretly love pudding skin, like a select few of us, skip this step). 
  5. Refrigerate the pudding until fully chilled, at least 2 hours, before serving. 
  6. Garnish the chilled pudding with a sprinkling of flaky salt, to taste.  

Cook’s Note

Make Ahead and Storage: The pudding can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Why It Works: Pudding falls under the classification of boiled, or stirred, custard--it's cooked on the stovetop to the proper thickness, then chilled. It's important to bring the mixture to a boil to activate the starch (in this case, cornstarch). Otherwise, an enzyme naturally occurring in the eggs will begin to consume the starch, which will make the pudding thin out as it sits in the fridge. Pro Tip: Although pudding is traditionally served chilled, I've always loved it just made, when it's still warm. It makes a great (unusual) dessert for a dinner party--even as one component in a plated dessert. You can spread some warm pudding on each plate and top with a slice of pound cake and some fresh fruit. Or later the same ingredients in a large bowl, preferably glass, to make a trifle!

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