Saturday, May 15, 2010

Butterscotch Pudding and Miss Flo's Diner

In 1999 I wrote my first cookbook, Diner Desserts. The subject was near to my heart, as I‘ve always loved the comforting food and friendly environment of the classic American diner. I went to college in Massachusetts, where it seemed like there was a diner on every

corner, and I visited them often. My friends and I hung out at Miss Flo’s, a real old-style New England diner in Florence with friendly waitresses and jukeboxes at every booth. Miss Flo’s is known for its outstanding corned beef hash, potato fritters and homemade pies-- simple food, made with real ingredients. Aside from the homemade pies and tall

layer cakes, my favorite diner dessert has always been a good creamy pudding, either chocolate or butterscotch. The secret to a great chocolate pudding is obvious—use high quality bittersweet chocolate. The secret to a great butterscotch pudding may be more

elusive, but for me it comes down to the combination of light and dark brown sugars with butter and a healthy amount of salt. The salt balances the sweetness of the pudding, and brings out the deep flavor of the brown sugars. And the bourbon? Well, it just works with butterscotch, though they never served it that way at Miss Flo’s.

P.S. The winner of the Great Cookbook Giveaway from my last post is.....[drumroll, please....]....Lauren! Lauren wrote an adorable rhyming poem about me, so I'd say she deserves to win just for all that effort. Lauren, congratulations and please email me your address when you get a chance and I will send off your books right away ( to all who took the time to enter!

Butterscotch Bourbon Pudding
Adapted from Diner Desserts
Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons bourbon (I use Maker’s Mark), optional
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the cornstarch, sugars and salt. Gradually whisk in the milk and half-and-half. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Whisk about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks. Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Continue to boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter pieces until they are completely melted. Whisk in the bourbon and vanilla. Pour into six serving glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until thoroughly chilled. (If you don’t want a skin to form, press a small piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of each pudding before chilling.)
3. Serve with sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate cookies crumbs.