When I was in college, one of my English professors once gave our class a very stern lecture about plagiarizing ourselves. That is, taking an old paper we had written for another course and resubmitting it as new. For weeks, I was terrified that I was going to unwittingly write the same paragraph twice and be placed on academic probation.
I have cheated exactly one time in my entire life, on a spelling test in the second grade. Unprovoked, the girl sitting next to me whispered that I had made a mistake and told me how to fix it. I remember erasing the word and rewriting it, and then immediately feeling wracked with guilt. I went home and cried and confessed to my mother. She didn’t think it was a huge deal, but even so it was weeks before my shame subsided. Ever since then, I’ve been sort of phobic about cheating.
But wait—aren’t we supposed to be talking about bourbon and butterscotch?
Sorry to be confusing. It’s just that this pudding is totally an act of self-plagiarism. It’s mostly from my first cookbook, The Boozy Baker, with a few minor tweaks and substitutions.
Am I supposed to put my own book in the “Adapted from” part of the recipe? That seems so weird! On the other hand, it’s not really a brand new recipe, and I don’t want to misrepresent it as such.
It’s also entirely possible that I am over-thinking this. So let’s move on…
I was a little nervous making this bourbon butterscotch pudding! In truth, I haven’t revisited the recipe since The Boozy Baker was published in 2010. What if it didn’t work, or what if I didn’t love the flavor? In the end, I shouldn’t have been concerned. This pudding is thick, creamy, and totally luxurious. It tastes like everything that is right with dessert: butter and brown sugar and vanilla and bourbon.
Oh, and the best thing about pudding, generally? It’s a no-bake dessert. And we all love those, right?
Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- Grated chocolate optional, for serving
Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium-large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is smooth and bubbling, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the cream or half-and-half into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until barely steaming. Carefully pour the hot cream into the butterscotch mixture and stir to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the milk. Whisk 1/2 cup of the hot butterscotch mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, then whisk all of the egg yolk mixture back into the pot with the butterscotch.
Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is has thickened to a pudding consistency, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and bourbon. Divide the pudding between six ramekins or mugs and chill until set, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days. Sprinkle with the chocolate before serving (if using).