My 1951 edition of JOY OF COOKING by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker doesn’t include a butterscotch pudding recipe. Instead it tucks a short Butterscotch Tapioca Custard in at the tail-end of the Quick Tapioca Custard recipe. The addition of melted butter mixed with brown sugar is all that’s needed to produce the butterscotch flavor and the signature golden brown color. Tapioca custard, or tapioca pudding, is thickened with tapioca pearls, a product made from cassava root.
However, traditional puddings such as butterscotch use corn starch powder as a thickening agent. My BETTY CROCKER’S COOKBOOK (2001 edition) presents a typical Vanilla Pudding combining white granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk, egg yolks, butter and vanilla. Converting this recipe to Butterscotch Pudding requires substituting brown sugar for the white and decreasing the amount of vanilla.
My favorite Butterscotch Pudding recipe comes from my WHOLE FOODS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY and can be prepared in a pan, a double boiler or a microwave.
*2 cups milk (I recommend whole milk for the best results.)
*1/4-cup brown sugar OR 3 tablespoons honey AND 2 tablespoons molasses.
*3 tablespoons cornstarch (Out of cornstarch? Substitute 6 tablespoons of white all-purpose flour)
*2 whole eggs, well beaten (Some recipes call for whole eggs; some only require the yolks. Egg whites alone will not produce the rich texture and taste attributed to a pudding.)
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*2 tablespoons butter
Quick method of cooking:
1. Heat 1-1/2 cups milk and sweetener(s) to a simmer in a heavy saucepan over low heat.
2. In a measuring cup, mix remaining 1/2-cup milk and cornstarch (or flour). Stir into hot milk.
3. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly until thickened and starting to boil, about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Stir about 1/2-cup of the hot mixture into beaten eggs. Dribble egg mixture into pan and stir over low heat for one minute.
5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.
6. Serve warm or chilled in four dishes.
One of the reasons I prefer this Butterscotch Pudding is that it’s less sweet than most puddings. If you prefer a sweeter taste, garnish with fruit, nuts, coconut and/or whipped cream. My favorite topping is whipped cream, homemade with heavy cream, no sweeteners added. The cream itself is amazingly sweet and tastes delicious on pudding.