Butterscotch Pudding


Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

This is certainly the most near and dear to my heart. It was nearly 20 years ago that my husband, Jeremy, and I revamped the butterscotch pudding recipe at The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, California. When we returned in Boston in 2002, Jeremy put it on the menu at Great Bay Restaurant. After opening Lineage in 2006, we put it on our pastry menu there and in that same year, it was named a best dessert by Boston Magazine. About a year after that, we tried to take the pudding off the menu, just to change things up a little. There was an instant backlash. Our customers were seriously upset(!) so it went right back on the menu and remained there until the last days of Lineage in July 2016. Thankfully, it has not disappeared completely from the Boston dessert scene, and all of you Lineage devotees (you know who you are!) can now find it on the menu at Row 34 Boston. This is a gelatin- based pudding, and I strongly advise using gelatin sheets, also called leaf gelatin. They produce a much cleaner taste than traditional powdered gelatin and are not difficult to use. Gelatin sheets can be tricky to find in stores but are available online through Amazon or Jet. We usually top this pudding with whipped cream and candied pecans, which add a nice crunchy contrast to the creaminess of the pudding.

Makes 12 (8-ounce) ramekins

4½ sheets gelatin
2 cups cold water
12 egg yolks
7 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce Scotch
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces butterscotch chips
2 ounces brown sugar

Place cold water in a bowl and add the gelatin sheets 1 at a time. Be sure they are completely submerged in the water. Set aside. In another bowl, beat egg yolks by hand until just combined. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, scald heavy cream, vanilla bean (if using extract, don’t add it yet), Scotch and salt. Remove this mixture from the heat and slowly add 1 to 2 cups of the heated cream to the egg yolks, whisking rapidly as you pour. This will temper (or warm) the yolks up before adding them back into the saucepan with the remainder of the heated cream.

Cook this mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and pour into a bowl. Add butterscotch chips all at once. Meanwhile, gently remove the gelatin sheets from the water—they will be quite slippery at this point but will hold together. Gently squeeze the sheets with your hands to remove excess water and add them to the heated cream mixture. They will begin to melt immediately. If using vanilla extract, add it now.

Whisk the pudding thoroughly until all the butterscotch chips are melted and the gelatin has been fully incorporated. Strain and pour into ramekins. Cool at room temperature for 15–30 minutes and then place in the refrigerator for 3–4 hours, until set. Serve cold from the fridge, or cover them and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

This recipe appeared in the Winter 2017 issue as part of a larger story on Winter Puddings.