I confess…I had never heard of budino until I went to Italy this past October. That’s 35 years of missing out on probably what is the most incredible dessert ever. It’s very similar to English pudding; budino is the Italian word for pudding so…you get where I’m going here. The consistency is like creme brulee custard, though slightly firmer…but of course, we aren’t baking this and there is no brulee. And who doesn’t like butterscotch pudding?! Don’t answer that. I don’t want a reason not to like you.
Yield: 8 (6-ounce) custards
Combine cream and milk in a bowl and set aside. Whisk egg, egg yolks and cornstarch in a medium bowl and set aside. HINT: don’t under-whisk.You don’t want any bitter pockets of cornstarch sneaking up on you. Make sure it’s fully incorporated.
Combine brown sugar, salt and water in a medium saucepan. .Place over medium-high heat and cook until a thick, dark brown caramel develops, 8-10 minutes. HINT: this is a little tough as, if you have made homemade caramel before, you know that it usually starts with white sugar and you rely heavily on the color of the sugar to know when to pull it from the heat. Because we are using dark brown sugar for this recipe, the color doesn’t help, so just watch the boil carefully and use your nose to judge where the caramel is at. Burnt sugar is easy to detect, so keep sniffing and pull from the heat if you smell anything suspicious. HINT 2: stirring the sugar helps it crystallize and we are trying to avoid that – if you want to make sure that everything is incorporated – swirl the saucepan instead. Turn off the heat and whisk the cream mixture into the caramel. Be careful as the mixture will bubble vigorously – don’t let that catch you off guard.
Turn the heat back on to medium and simmer until the caramel melts into the cream completely and the mixture is smooth.
Next, temper the eggs by slowly whisky about a half cup of the hot caramel cream into the bowl with the egg mixture. HINT: don’t skip this step. It’s very important as you don’t want to scramble your eggs by adding them directly into the hot pot of caramel. Now, whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the pot containing the remaining caramel cream and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly until the custard is very thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, bourbon and vanilla. Divide custard among 8, 6-ounce ramekins. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve (about 2 hours).
When you are ready to serve, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over each custard and dust with coarse sea salt. Delizioso!