Butterscotch budino with salted caramel, is it a pudding or a custard?
There seems to be some debate about what this silky smooth Italian creation is.
What is not debatable is that budino’s are absolute perfection!
What is a Budino?
In the simplest of terms, a budino is a smooth pudding that is made with corn starch instead of gelatin. I prefer cornstarch because it provides a smooth texture whereas gelatin can be a bit chewy. Cornstarch is also vegetarian (YEA!)
If you’re new to cornstarch and gelatin they are both thickening agents. However, cornstarch thickens as it heats, whereas gelatin thickens as it cools. Gelatin is also a protein that is made from animal byproducts.
It’s hard to find information on the history of the budino. We know its origins are Italian and budino is the Italian word for pudding. The first American reference of the budino was found in 1963 when it was served as a dinner course for the Wine and Food Society of the San Fernando Valley.
While it has been around for a while, probably centuries in Italy, it was not until 2007 that it became popular in the US. It was at this time famed chef Nancy Silverton put her signature Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel on the Mozza menu. I believe the salted caramel added a whole new layer of flavor that transformed the budino from ‘just a pudding’ to ‘a must have dessert’.
Since 2007, the Budino has been growing in popularity and can be found in every American city (just not every American menu).
For this budino I went with the classic Nancy Silverton butterscotch budino with a salted caramel top version. I also added a vanilla wafer cookie crust for some additional texture. The vanilla wafer cookie crust, and even the salted caramel top, are optional and a personal preference. Here are a few pros and cons of each:
- Vanilla wafer cookie crust:
Pro’s – added texture and looked great.
Con’s – it did make the budino a little dryer.
- Salted Caramel:
Pro’s – Salted caramel, what else do I need to say?
Con’s – Making caramel takes some practice and skill. If you are not ready to try making it, you can purchase it at the store. No judgment.
Warm the caramel up just before putting it on the budino. If prepared too far in advance the caramel will harden and make it awkward to eat.
- Flavor Options: There are many variations, here are a few ideas.
Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 4, Signature Bake – Puddings
I honestly did not know where to start with this bake. I have always been a chocolate girl and I have never really interested in trying anything else. Further complicating the issue, I did not think pudding could be more than something sold in a plastic cup. Nothing more, nothing less.
Then my dear friend Autum suggested I try a Budino. I was like a what? She explained what a budino is, that her husband loves them and always orders one at a restaurant we both like. I did some research and learned budino’s became popular in the US through Nancy Silverton, who is someone I have a tremendous amount of admiration for.
So I took the plunge and started making budino’s. Turns out, they are truly worth the fan fair! It also turns out that pudding is so much more than a shelf-stable product sold by Bill Cosby. Mind Blown!
This challenge helped to reinforce why I am trying to bake my way through The Great British Bake Off. I am learning so much, new techniques, and expanding my pallet. (Sadly my waistline too). But along the way, I am growing so much and I am really enjoying the entire journey.
Count: 9 down, 269 to go!
In the Mood for Something Else? Try One of These Recipes Instead
(affiliate links – yep, I get paid if you buy one of these)
Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel
Vanilla Wafer Crust (optional)
- 1.5 cup vanilla wafers
- 5 tbsp butter (softened)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla Wafer Crust (optional)
- In a food processor, grind the vanilla wafers to a fine crumb.
- Mix well wafer crumbs with butter and sugar.
- Press crumb into the base of the glasses you will be using for the budino.
- Whisk the egg, egg yokes, and corn starch until smooth. Set aside.
- Combine the heavy cream and milk and set the mixture and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium to high heat stir the brown sugar, ½ cup water, and the salt combining all the ingredients.
- Cook until the sugar is melted and smells caramelized, this normally takes about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Whisk in the cream and milk mixture. Note the mixture will seize, this is normal. Keep stirring and the mixture will become smooth again. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat to medium. This is the butterscotch.
- Add 1/2 cup of the butterscotch to the egg and corn starch mixture while whisking constantly. Once mixed, then add another 1/2 cup of the butterscotch to the egg and corn starch mixture. This step is necessary to increase the temperature of the eggs, without cooking or curdling the eggs.
- Add the egg, corn starch mixture to the remaining butterscotch in the pot and then bring to a boil while whisking constantly until the custard is very thick, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and rum.
- Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps.
- Distribute budino evenly in desired cups. Refrigerate for three hours to set.
- Make this just prior to serving the budino.
- In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup and 2 tablespoons of water. Add the sugar to the center of the saucepan, being careful not to have the sugar splash on the sides of the pan.
- Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the sugar becomes a medium amber color, about 10 – 12 minutes.
- Remove the caramel from heat and whisk the vanilla cream into the caramel a little bit at a time. Use caution here as the mixture will begin to bubble violently. Continue to whisk until completely combined.
- Allow to cool and pour on top of the budino when still slightly warm, just before serving.
- In a mixing bowl, add the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip using a hand blender.
- Top the budino with whip cream before serving.
- Whip Cream (Set aside to top after the caramel)
- Whip Cream