Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Perfect Butterscotch Pudding

Well, I'll be damned.

Butterscotch? It has both butter and scotch. I never expected the name to be literal.

This was another Cook's Illustrated Test Recipe, clearly labelled, "THIS IS NOT A FINISHED RECIPE - DO NOT POST ON WEBSITES OR BLOGS" So, I guess when I catch up on my recipe scanning and posting, I'll have to cut out measurements or something.

I was looking forward to this one, because I used to really, really love Jello butterscotch pudding (though I hated butterscotch candies, strangely enough). I was hoping for something with that intense flavor, without the cloying (I love that word) sweetness.

This was a really interesting process. I had never made pudding from scratch before, so I had no idea what to expect. Turns out, there were three distinct changes to the mixture in the course of making the recipe. It was kind of like alchemy or something. Even though I was working without a candy thermometer (needed for the temperature of the sugar mixture), the descriptions of each change in state were dead on.

That aside, I wasn't too thrilled with the outcome at the time I was refrigerating it. There was a funky, bitter aftertaste. I generally don't like tasting liquor in food, so I was guessing that it was the scotch. But I decided to wait until it was properly set and ready before passing judgement.

The next day, still not great. The texture was a little rough, even after the recommended stirring, and the taste was off. I added about a teaspoon or so of super-fine sugar to my serving to cut it a bit, which helped a bit.

But the second day? There we go. Everything taste and texture-wise settled out and I'd have to say, at that point? Perfect. It went from nasty to excellent, just from sitting in the fridge, completely bypassing the mediocre Jello version.

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