Pecans, mascarpone elevate butterscotch pudding

Noelle Carter
Los Angeles Times

Imagine rich butterscotch pudding topped with a light, slightly tangy mascarpone cream and toasted candied pecans. Reader Mickey Fielding from Baldwin Hills, California, calls it one of “the most deliciously eyes-rolling-back-in-my-head dishes I’ve ever tasted.”

Mickey, we understand.

To get that incredible butterscotch flavor, chef Ben Ford caramelizes brown sugar, which he then combines with heavy cream, milk, eggs and cornstarch to form a velvety custard base. He then incorporates almost a half-stick of butter and stirs in a little dark rum just to gild the lily.

Try, if you can, to chill the pudding before digging in.

It’s a perfect dessert when you’re planning for company and looking for something you can make ahead of time.

Ford was happy to share the recipe so you can savor all that deliciousness in the privacy of your own home.

Ford’s Filling Station Butterscotch Pudding

Time: About 40 minutes, plus chilling time.

Makes: About 4 cups pudding


1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup fine granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mix, whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. In a separate bowl, whip the mascarpone until loosened and fluffy. Carefully fold in the whipped cream. Set aside.


21/4 cups cream

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

1 egg

3 egg yolks

6 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar

11/8 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup water

33/4 tablespoons butter

11/2 ounces dark rum (not spiced)

Prepared mascarpone cream, recipe above

1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) crushed candied pecans

In a bowl, combine the cream and milk. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the brown sugar and salt, along with the water. Heat the mixture on high heat until the sugar has caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes, gently stirring with a spatula.

When the sugar mixture is caramelized, whisk in the milk and cream mixture until smooth. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place the butter in a strainer set over a metal bowl that is placed in a larger bowl of ice water.

Once boiling, stir a little of the hot cream mixture in with the eggs and cornstarch to temper, then add the egg/cornstarch mixture to the pot. Continue whisking in the pot until the pudding has thickened.

Remove from heat and immedi-ately strain into the metal bowl set over a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Stir in the rum, then gently stir the pudding until it has cooled.

Remove the metal bowl from the bowl of ice water, cover with plastic wrap and chill.

To serve, spoon the pudding into serving dishes or bowls, top with a dollop of mascarpone cream and a sprinkling of candied pecans.