Butterscotch pudding is traditionally made with butter and a little Scotch (the alcohol burns off during cooking). Lisa Sewall, the pastry chef and co-owner (with her chef husband, Jeremy) of Boston’s Lineage, makes a supercreamy version that is a bit of a cheat—she uses butterscotch chips to simplify the recipe. The result is so flavorful, even purists won’t complain.
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3 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons Scotch
1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 cup butterscotch chips (6 ounces)
Whipped cream and store-bought caramel sauce, for serving (see Note)
How to Make It
Fill a medium bowl with ice water. Set a fine mesh sieve in another medium bowl; set the bowl in the ice water bath.
In a small skillet, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cream with the Scotch, brown sugar, water and salt and cook over moderate heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool slightly.
Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl. In a heavy, medium saucepan, bring the remaining 3 1/2 cups of cream to a simmer with the vanilla bean and seeds. Remove from the heat. Add the butterscotch chips to the hot cream and let stand until melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Gradually add the hot butterscotch mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until thick, about 15 minutes. Do not let it boil. Strain the pudding into the bowl in the ice bath and stir in the Scotch mixture.
Pour the pudding into glasses and refrigerate until thoroughly set, at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve the pudding with whipped cream and caramel sauce.