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"As a kid, butterscotch pudding was my number one choice when it came to desserts," Gail says. "I love that it has recently made a comeback, and that so many restaurants are offering it on their dessert menus, often embellished with creative and sophisticated flourishes. My version keeps it homey and deeply buttery, yet each bite delivers the subtle lingering finish of real Scotch—a grown-up incarnation of my childhood favorite."
Adapted from Bringing It Home by Gail Simmons. Copyright © 2017 by Gail Simmons. Used with permission by Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream just to simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat, then whisk in the brown sugar. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth and just begins to bubble, about 2 minutes (do not overcook, or the mixture will burn). Remove from the heat.
Whisking constantly, gradually add the warm milk mixture to the butter mixture until it is fully combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and salt, then add the eggs and ¼ cup of the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in an additional ¼ cup of the milk mixture, then add the egg mixture back to the milk mixture in the pan, whisking constantly until very smooth.
While continuing to whisk, cook over medium heat until the pudding is bubbling and becomes very thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the vanilla, and whiskey if using.
Pass the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Spoon into four serving glasses or custard cups, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Serve the pudding topped with whipped cream, shaved chocolate, and/or a sprinkling of turbinado sugar, if desired.