I grew up on Jello Cook 'n Serve chocolate pudding. My Grandma kept a large cache of the stuff in a cupboard in her kitchen. When I was a kid, I would often stay over at my grandparent's house when I was "sick." I would inevitably make my way over to that cupboard and pull out a box, sometime between a nap and playing dominoes or Go Fish with Grandpa.
So, I can pretty much go on autopilot whisking and waiting for pudding to thicken. It's in my blood. I love puddings of all flavors but I don't make them from scratch all that often. Since it's such an old fashioned dessert, I think I pass it over for more elegant desserts when having friends over, but now I see that's a huge error. Pudding is just what you want when you have a party! You make it ahead of time, it's really easy and everybody loves it! Stop! Stt-tt-op! Arrête! Don't question it, just make this!
I added the blackberries for a little surprise and touch of refinement, as recommended by my mother-in-law. Top these puddings with a little flavored whipped cream (that amaretto!) and maybe some toffee bits. When I do serve this at my next dinner, I want to try making my own almond brittle to stick in there like big shards of glass. These puddings might not look very dark in color, but I assure they are packed with sweet toffee flavor! Serve this cold or warm. I adore it warm because of the sweeter melted-caramel taste, but served cold, the sweetness is more subtle and balanced out with the cream. Either way, I'm so excited to eat this after dinner tonight!
Do you know anyone who doesn't like pudding?! Butterscotch Pudding with Sunken Blackberries
(slightly adapted from Butter Sugar Flour Eggs by Gale Gand)
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/4 cups whole or 2% fat milk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Amaretto liquor, or Scotch whisky
Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat immediately and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat and add the brown sugar. Stir and cook 5-7 minutes, until fully melted and bubbling. You will smell that nutty caramel scent when it's ready. Turn off the heat. Whisk the brown sugar caramel into the hot milk mixture, gradually, until all of it is combined and dissolved into the milk. The milk will be a light brown color.
Put the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Whisk in the cornstarch and salt. Gradually whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the pot of hot milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the pudding thickens and just starts to boil. Whisk vigorously.
Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and Amaretto or Scotch. Divide pudding between 6 small ramekins or other serving dishes. If desired, drop 3 whole blackberries into each ramekin, pouring more pudding over the top to hide them. Chill for at least 2 hours, if serving cold. I actually prefer this warm, though. Serve with whipped cream or toffee bits. Serves 6.