Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt. 6
Many years ago I perked up upon reading an article in the New York Times food section about homemade butterscotch pudding. I would have been at my stove in a flash if not for the fact that the recipe called for two saucepans and I only owned one. Also, the pudding required that technique filled with kitchen terror: tempering beaten eggs with hot milk and then cooking the whole mess until it has thickened but not scrambled. So, that recipe was not going to happen.
Many years later and Jennifer Reese has a recipe for Butterscotch Pudding in Make the Bread, Buy the Butter and I now have more than one saucepan and have made creme anglaise several times with almost 100% success (eternal vigilance stirring the mixture plays a big part). Could this be as good as the little box mix puddings of my youth? And why does it need to be "as good" as the little box mixes of youth? How often do we go back and have that old favorite and realize that it isn't that good? That it's too sweet or salty or fake chocolate tasting. How do we get used to these tastes and are they designed to appeal to young palates and forever imprint you? Maybe this is why I'm trying so hard to get as many vegetables into ecobaby as possible so that is her baseline palate.
But I digress, back to the pudding. I sauntered up the stove with a confident air and I mixed that sumbitch up. Cornstarch makes a difference in the pudding-making because it creates a much denser texture that makes you brain say "Yup, that's pudding". There is much less of that fretting and testing and running your finger through a very hot milk-egg mixture on the back of a spoon to see if it leaves a clean trail.
But the big question is how did it taste once it had chilled in its little ramekins. Delicious, my friends, delicious. I love butterscotch pudding and it had been a goodly while since I had eaten it. It was worth the wait and not extraordinary effort.
Food & Wine - Classic Crème Anglaise