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Pudding and Playlists

Butterscotch Pudding

Last week was a whirlwind of flour, sugar, cool fall evenings, early morning drives to the industrial part of the city and some new baking friends. I enrolled in a one-week intensive baking course through San Francisco Baking Institute in methods and ingredient functionality. It was fascinating to learn the science behind what I do and love (the “why’s and “how’s” lurking behind recipes and formulas). I haven’t done the whole commute thing in a long, long time so after a few days of really bad morning radio I gathered up a new play list. And you know what I’ve found about this particular playlist? Not only is it fabulous for weaving in and out of traffic on Highway 101, it’s also great for shaking your booty while you’re making butterscotch pudding.

Here are a few of the musical highlights. Picture me weaving through traffic peacefully at the crack of dawn:

Carolina Chocolate Drops This North Carolina string band trio learned their skills from old-time fiddler Joe Thompson. Joe was in his 80′s when they would head over to his house and sit on the porch observing, learning, absorbing. “Memphis Shakedown” is the best song for stirring butterscotch pudding like there’s no tomorrow.

The Living Sisters are perfect late afternoon or Sunday morning music. There’s a quiet deliberation that I love, and a breathy old-timeyness. Check out “Blue” and “Double Knots.”

I don’t completely know how to describe Joanna Newson other than magically odd and mildly addicting. You have to be in the right mood, but if you haven’t experienced the crazy stuff she does with the harp and her eerily powerful vocals, you’re missing out.

My crush on Eddie Vedder is deep-seated, and it hasn’t ended with the few songs he did for the Eat, Pray Love soundtrack. Regardless of what you thought of the book or the movie,”Better Days” and “The Long Road” make me smile and slow down.

Oh Regina Spektor, your lyrics are smart and your voice stops me in my tracks.  Check out “Better” and “Fidelity.”

She and Him‘s Volume Two is my go-to shower or driving to work album. Turns out it’s great for pudding stirring as well. Who knew?  My two favorite songs are “Thieves” and “Don’t Look Back.”

And of course, you can’t go wrong with some Bob Dylan, Jay Z., old Violent Femmes, Wilco, Gillian Welch,  or Jenny Lewis. Happy listening, driving, stirring, baking…or whatever you’re up to this week.

Eating Butterscotch Pudding

And now for some pudding. This recipe is from the Baked cookbook. I’m obsessed with Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito’s first effort and their newest book, Baked Explorations, is just as exciting. The Baked boys have a little bakery in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn and a location in South Carolina as well–they do classic American desserts with playful, innovative ingredients (malt, pepper, milk powder). and I can’t wait to actually visit the bakery while in New York in November. For now, we’ve got their pudding.

Butterscotch Pudding
Adapted from: Baked
I’ve adapted this recipe to make for a creamier pudding with a less pronounced whiskey flavor and a  smidge more pronounced caramel profile. Serve it with whipped cream and a little shaved chocolate. Or crumble a Butterfinger candy bar on top as the guys at Baked Bakery like to do.

Ingredients:
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon whiskey
1/2 cup heavy cream, for whipping cream garnish
shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

Directions:
Put the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water and stir gently with wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to combine. Avoid splashing the sides of the pan. Cook over medium heat until sugar’s dissolved, then increase the heat to medium-high and cook until mixture reaches a dark amber color. Don’t stir during this time–to keep the color consistent, you can swirl the pan if necessary. Remove from heat and let stand one minute before slowly stirring in the cream. Pour the caramel mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

In another small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch and salt and stir in the milk with a whisk to combine. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and using the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds into the milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until it comes to a full boil. Remove from the heat and add the caramel. Whisk until combined, then pour one third of the mixture over the eggs to temper them. Don’t add the entire mixture at one time. Keep whisking the egg mixture and add another third of the hot milk mixture. Transfer the egg mixture back to the saucepan with the milk mixture and, whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, or until it reaches a thicker almost pudding-like consistency. Pudding will also thicken as it sets, so don’t worry if it’s not the perfect pudding consistency at this time.

Remove from heat and add the butter and the whiskey. Keep whisking for about one minute to cool the pudding. Remove the vanilla bean. If your pudding looks chunky, filter through a mesh seive. Cover the top of the pudding with plastic wrap and press lightly down so it touches the surface of the pudding. This will prohibit the pudding from getting a thick skin on top. Refrigerate until ready to use. Pudding will thicken and continue to set.

To put together: whip the heavy cream (with a teaspoon of sugar if you’d like) and add a dollop on top of each serving of pudding. Then top with chocolate shavings.

Serves: 4 (smaller bowls) or 6 small ramekins

  1. Posted October 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    An excellent mix. :) I would add Neko Case and a sprinkling of Tim Buckley. I don’t know if these puddings can be improved on though! Purty. Anyways, hi from a sometimes lurker!

  2. Lori
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I LOVE butterscotch and BAKED. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  3. Posted October 11, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Yum! Want. Love the new music to listen to, too! Thanks for all the recommendations!

  4. Posted October 11, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I looks incredible – how does it taste??? (Love the music notes.)
    :)
    Valerie

  5. megang
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Tastes fabulous, Valerie. Really rich pudding–perfect for cool evenings. The Baked boys call it “toothsome.”

  6. dixie
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Well hot damn! My mom will love this and whiskey? Can’t go wrong there. I will try this next time my mom is in town.

  7. Posted October 11, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Amazing, this looks delicious, I have never made anything like this I might have to give it a go!

  8. Posted October 12, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Thanks for this recipe….

  9. Posted October 12, 2010 at 6:22 am

    I haven’t had homemade pudding in what seems like forever. This sounds incredible, especially with that bit of whiskey in there. I just reviewed Baked Explorations and love it. Looks like I need to get my hands on a copy of Baked as well.

  10. Posted October 12, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Oh yum oh yum oh yum oh yum!!! I love butterscotch pudding!

    Laura

  11. Posted October 12, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Love the playlist! This butterscotch pudding looks to die for…I would definitely make it with crushed butterfinger on top :)

  12. Posted October 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    My favorite pudding. YUM!!

  13. Posted October 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Umm, New York in November? Lets make a date!

  14. Suzanne T-H
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Megan, you tackled the devilish carmel making step with this delicious pudding. You are a brave lady. It is such a fine line between perfect amber and too dark -yikes does that taste burned??? Then there is the problem of the whole thing suddenly crystalizing. (Can you tell I’ve had experience with this?) Luckily all went well and the pudding is delicious. Did you learn any tricks for caramelizing sugar in your class?
    I vote for Greg Brown & John Prine on a good play list. Take care.

  15. Posted October 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I’m not really a fan of pudding – i can only eat a spoonful or two before it becomes too much. But I think this would be great in a tart shell (maybe it’s a texture thing and adding some crunch would mean the world to me!). This actually has me drooling a bit ;)

  16. Posted October 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Music is so important, and I love that you’ve touched on that here. (I’m seeing some interesting new names, too…) Baked goods from Baked are very important too, though. :) I’m really excited to test out their new stuff!

  17. Laura
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I just had some pudding tonight…thanks for the inspiration!! Yours is my favorite blog…I love reading it!!! Thanks so much for your cooking, writing, and sharing!

  18. megang
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Lauren: good call on Neko Case. Agreed (love)!

    Lori: You’ll love Baked Explorations.

    Suzanne: No, didn’t taste burned…look too dark to you? I didn’t learn it in my recent class, but have helped out in a bakery over many weekends and have seen the head baker do similar sugar work. The timing is certainly tricky.

    Jeanette: Yes! The Baked boys actually do it in a tart with oatey buttery crust which I think would be incredible. I thought, for this go-around, I’d just do a straight shot of the pudding. But good call on that one.

    Laura: Thanks for the generous comment! I’m so glad you enjoy the blog.

  19. Posted October 13, 2010 at 2:40 am

    You made a less pronounced whuskey taste? megan – what’s wrong with you? Oh, right, that commute thing – it’s a drag huh? Glad you found a way to make it better with music! Your course sounds amazing…

  20. Posted October 13, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Or even, ahem, whIskey. It’s early here!

  21. Posted October 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    great playlist, even better pudding… you know, i miss your posts when it’s been a while…

  22. Posted October 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    YUM! Pudding. I don’t know why but i never make pudding. This one i have to save and try.

  23. Posted October 14, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I am a total pudding fanatic. Is that wrong?!

    101 is fun. HWY 1 is even better but my all time favorite is 17. It’s the one I take from sana cruz to SF.

    crazy.

  24. Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:34 am

    that pudding just looks amazing! i love the Baked book. the recipes in there are delicious!

  25. Posted October 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Love the music suggestions! I am new music challenged so I look forward to checking out the people you mentioned here. Awesome pudding. Butterscotch is one of Randy’s favorite flavors and I never think to make pudding. I have the new Baked book. It’s awesome!

  26. Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    This looks awesome! i love butterscotch! if only my family was just as fond of it as i am, i would be making this all the time! thanks for the recipe :)

  27. Posted October 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for this post, Megan. I have been wondering about this recipe and am glad you test drove it for us. I tend to reduce alcohol in recipes like this, too. Excited to give it a try…

  28. Posted October 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Have you heard of Aurgasm (http://aurgasm.us), it’s a great site for showcasing up and coming musicians, and it’s where I discovered the Living Sisters too. Love their voice!

  29. Posted June 17, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  30. megang
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Hmm, strange. Thank you so much. I’ll check this out.

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