Mother's Day usually falls near my Mother's birthday....which was on the 16th. We always combined the two when she was still with us, so I always think of Mother's Day and her birthday in the same breath. Have I ever mentioned her name was May? And that she had a sister June? Naming kids after birth months was quite common back then . And then there was a third sister, named Francis. I always got a chuckle out of that.
For Mother's Day, I was going to make Mother's 7-up pound cake (which nearly everyone has a recipe for anyway) until I remembered her butterscotch pudding. She made a lot of puddings for dessert but I especially loved her butterscotch pudding; unfortunately, she never wrote the recipe down. Often, I asked her to write down measurements as she cooked, but I must have missed this one. I've never tasted anything like it since. Mother also made a divine butterscotch pudding/sauce, which she layered over a baked meringue and topped it with a thin layer of whipped cream. Killer dessert, calorie-wise, but sheer heaven. And this butterscotch was a bit different than her pudding, thinner and more like a sauce, but not quite as thin or sticky as a sauce for ice cream. Which means I always keep my eyes open when I see butterscotch anything recipes, always hoping. I still haven't found any exact matches and neither has my sister. As I recall, that particular meringue dessert was one of my brother's favorites, too. (Of course Mother also made it with lemon curd, which must have been a treat for my lemon-obsessed sister Sharon, but I still dream of the butterscotch.)
Recently, I came across a couple butterscotch pudding recipes I thought I'd combine and try. The result doesn't taste exactly like Mother's, but it's a lovely pudding. (Back to the drawing board for those butterscotch meringues.) Anyway, I mixed recipes from Flour and The Perfect Finish. You probably all have a recipe for butterscotch pudding, but I've never tried one that adds dulce de leche. Which, BTW, I made in a new way. (See bench notes)
You can't beat the teacup presentation for Mother's Day!
Dulce de Leche Butterscotch Pudding
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup sifted cornstarch
2 cups half and half
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons dulce de leche (see bench notes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
whipped cream for garnish
In a saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, egg yolks and corn starch. This mixture will be very stiff.
In another saucepan, heat the half and half and milk until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk this mixture slowly into the brown sugar mixture. Whisk in the dulce de leche. Return to the stove and place a candy thermometer in the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. (Between 160º and 170º) Do not allow the mixture to boil or go over 180º or it will curdle.
Remove from heat and divide among teacups or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 2 hours.
Serve chilled puddings with whipped cream and dulce de leche.
I've made dulce de leche boiled in the can and also stovetop. But this time, I tried David Lebovitz's oven method and thought it the easiest, certainly less hands-on. The recipe follows.
Dulce de Leche
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt.Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).
Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth.Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.