Sunday, November 6, 2011

Salted Caramel Budino vs. Butterscotch Pots de Crème

Are you ready for dessert?

This summer I saw a recipe in Food & Wine magazine for Butterscotch Pots de Crème and I ear marked it to make later. Then in the next issue of Bon Appétit, I saw a recipe for Salted Caramel Budino. Yep, that meant another ear mark.

Before I get too long winded, pots de crème and budino are basically just fancy terms for custard or pudding. But that's not what sold me. These recipes had me at salted caramel.

When my mom asked what I'd like for my birthday dessert, I requested either the pots de crème or budino, whichever sounded best to her. She didn’t even hesitate and said, “How about if I make both and we can see which one we like better?” … That’s just one of the million reasons why I love my mom so much!

The weekend we went home to Silverdale, my mom and I spent most of Saturday cooking and playing in the kitchen. We made both the desserts and she walked me through making homemade caramel sauce. Move over Fran, now that I know what I’m doing, I may no longer drop $10 on your jars of deliciousness!

Since Missy and Kelly have us trained to turn most events into food competitions, I printed off ballots so our team of six (mom, dad, Molly, Leroy, Curtis and I) could silently vote for which dessert we liked best.

Tasting and voting was hard work - we were stuffed from our big dinner! For some it was a quick decision and for others it took several tastes back and forth.

The verdict?

It was a tie! And I don’t know if it was the wine or what, but we found it hilarious that the guys unanimously voted for the Salted Caramel Budino and the girls for the Butterscotch Pots de Crème.

The Caramel Budino definitely won points in the presentation arena (how cute are the Mason jars?) and the thick caramel sauce on top was delicious, but I truly liked the Butterscotch Pots de Crème better and it was so much easier to make! So next time I think I’d pull presentation and sauce from the caramel dessert and apply it to the budino which would result in one perfect salty, caramel, butterscotch treat!

Oh and if you attempt to make the budino… skip the “strain through a cheesecloth” step. It was a lot of work to push that thick pudding through a double layer of cheese cloth AND a sieve. Plus it meant more dishes to wash and we’re very skeptical the extra effort was worth it!


Our weekend trip home to Silverdale ended on a sweet note with a side trip to Graham to see good college girlfriends who were visiting from out of town!

Butterscotch Pots de Crème with Caramel Sauce

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
5 cups heavy cream
1 scant tablespoon fine sea salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
Boiling water

CARAMEL SAUCE (This was more of a syrup than a sauce)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped crème fraîche and Maldon sea salt, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and cook over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the cream. Return the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Add the salt and vanilla seeds.

In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture. Strain the custard into eight 6-ounce ramekins. Set the ramekins in a small roasting pan and place it in the middle of the oven. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, until the custards are set but still slightly wobbly in the center. Transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled, 4 hours.

In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar with 2 tablespoons of water and cook undisturbed over high heat, until a deep amber caramel forms, 6 minutes. Using a moistened pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the saucepan from time to time. Remove from the heat. Add 2/3 cup of water and stir until smooth. Let the caramel sauce cool, then stir in the vanilla.

Top the pots de crème with the caramel sauce and whipped crème fraîche, sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and serve.

Caramel Budino with Salted Caramel Sauce
Bon Appetit


Cookie Crust
1 cup finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs (such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers; about 20 cookies)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups whole milk, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons dark rum
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Salted Caramel Sauce (This sauce is amazing!)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Lightly sweetened whipped cream


Cookie Crust
Mix cookie crumbs, butter, and salt in a medium bowl. Place 2 tablespoons in a small bowl; cover and chill for garnish. Press 2 tablespoons cookie mixture onto the bottom of each of eight 8-ounce mason jars or ramekins (we only had enough pudding to fill six mason jars).

Whisk 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside. Heat remaining 2 1/2 cups milk in a small saucepan just to a simmer; set aside.

To make caramel, stir sugar and 3/4 cup water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; cook without stirring until an instant-read thermometer registers 210°–220°

Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and set over a large pitcher. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk, then cornstarch mixture. Slowly whisk in caramel. Return mixture to saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and a thermometer registers 175°, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, rum, and salt. Pour through prepared sieve (really, don't bother!).

Pour 1/2 cup budino over crust in each jar. Cover; chill until set, 4–5 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Salted Caramel Sauce
Place cream in a small pitcher. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Set aside.

Stir sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until deep amber color forms, 5–6 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually add vanilla cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Whisk over medium heat until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and salt. Strain into a heatproof bowl. Let cool slightly.

Spoon 2 tablespoons caramel sauce over each budino. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle some of reserved cookie crumbs over each.


  1. These look amazing! I love the desserts in the Mason jar. I love your mom too!

  2. This looks like a lot of work, I'd rather come eat yours. That's funny about the gender divided votes, maybe the guys needed that cookie crust crunch - YUM!!! Next time you have a birthday in Silverdale, Megan and I would like to come...

  3. umm...I'd like to come too Missy! Do I need to be apart of the Beauties crew to score an invite? Would it be awkward if I just showed up?

  4. This post just makes me miss you. That's all.

  5. You can lure me to your house anytime with the promise of either one of those caramelly desserts! I'm in agreement that the mason jar treatment is absolutely adorable, but pots de cream are so so good for so little effort.

    Definitely a toss up!

    Thanks for dropping by the Haute Apple Pie blog to check out our Thanksgiving post, btw! Hope to see you sometime over at Burp!

  6. Emily, I love how much fun your family has with food. Two birthday desserts is genius!

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