It’d been a while since I’d indulged in something sweet, so I figured I’d do a little self-spoiling with a dessert – silky smooth bourbon-butterscotch puddings topped with freshly whipped cream and crumbled graham crackers. I could have stopped there. Some might say I should have. After all, anything with bourbon, butterscotch, whipped cream and crumbled graham seems like a reasonably decadent dessert. But I opted to indulge just a smidge (or two) more with the addition of crispy bacon bits. And I can promise you that they are the perfect addition. This recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit.
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 220 g (1 firmly packed cup) brown sugar
- 1 litre (4 cups) pure cream
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk
- 1 tbsp bourbon
- ½ tsp table salt
- 6 egg yolks
- ¼ cup cornflour
- 3 graham crackers, crushed (optional; see Note)
- 5 bacon slices, cooked until crisp, crumbled (optional)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 3 hours
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the vanilla bean seeds. Cook for 2–4 minutes or until you notice the butter start to change colour to a golden brown. Add 165 g (¾ firmly packed cup) brown sugar and cook, stirring frequently, for 2–3 minutes or until the sugar starts to dissolve. Add 625 ml (2½ cups) cream, the milk, bourbon and salt. At this point, some of the undissolved sugar might stick to the pan; just keep stirring while it cooks and it will eventually break off and dissolve. Cook for 3 minutes or until the ingredients begin to simmer (tiny, infrequent bubbles), then remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and the remaining 55 g (¼ firmly packed cup) brown sugar until smooth. Slowly add the hot cream mixture, continuing to whisk as you add. Clean the saucepan, then strain the mixture through a sieve into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5–6 minutes or until you notice the mixture begin to bubble and thicken. At this point, you may see some clumps emerge; that is okay. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender or a handheld mixer, blend for 2 minutes on low speed or until smooth.
Place 8 x 180 ml-capacity ramekins on a rimmed baking tray and carefully pour in the mixture. Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours to chill and set.
When ready to serve, place the remaining 375 ml (1 ½ cups) cream and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Mix on high speed for 3 minutes or until soft peaks form.
Top the puddings with the whipped cream and crushed graham crackers and bacon crumbles, if desired.
Graham crackers are available from specialist food stores. Substitute digestive biscuits.
Recipe from Chocolate + Marrow by Brooke Bass, with photographs by Brooke Bass.