When it comes to desserts, I subscribe to the view that a dash of booze — Cointreau in pound cake, Campari in olive oil cake — is rarely ever a bad call. Judging by the hearty Bourbon section in Kelly Fields’ “The Good Book of Southern Baking,” I’m in good company with this stance.
Since the book’s release in 2020, I’ve made my way through several of Fields’ recipes, from a batch of life-changing buttery biscuits to a truly decadent pumpkin pie that stole the show at Thanksgiving. But it’s her Bourbon-Butterscotch Pudding that I dream about most often. It’s a surprisingly simple recipe for a dinner party finale that looks both fancy and adorable in individual ramekins. Plus, it can easily transition into pie mode when spread across a pre-baked crust (store bought is fine), and that quarter of a cup of bourbon makes for a toe-tingling cozy feeling that, if you ask me, every night should end on.
Bourbon-Butterscotch Pudding (From Kelly Fields’ “The Good Book of Southern Baking”)
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- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 8 egg yolks, at room temperature
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cane syrup
- 1 quart heavy cream
- ¼ cup of your favorite bourbon
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound Valrhona Dulcey chocolate, chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cane syrup and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture changes from quick, small bubbles to slower, thicker bubbles. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream, exercising extreme caution since the sugar will hiss and steam. Return the pot to medium-high heat and bring the mixture up to a slow boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes to allow the mixture to reduce a beat and for the bubbles to become a bit slower and thicker, then remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon, vanilla paste, and salt.
- While whisking constantly, slowly stream half of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, being careful not to cook the eggs. When half of the dairy mixture has been incorporated, pour the mixture in the bowl into the sauce pot and place the pot over medium-high heat. While whisking constantly and thoroughly (get into those pot corners), return the mixture to a boil and cook for another 3 minutes, until thick and bubbling. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until smooth.
- Divide the pudding among six 8-ounce ramekins. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of each custard (to prevent a skin from forming on their surface as they cool), then poke a few holes in the plastic to allow the steam to escape. Place in the refrigerator and cool completely before serving. The puddings can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.