During his childhood Thanksgivings, Zak Miller says, “nobody really baked—it was pumpkin pie and Cool Whip.” So for this butterscotch pudding, he drew inspiration from another universal pleasure: cookies and cold milk. “Every dessert I make pays homage to a memory,” he says. The trick to achieving silky-smooth custard lies in tempering the eggs a little at a time, an easy technique more frequently applied to pastry cream. Bourbon, added just before the pudding chills, adds smoky, grown-up depth to this kids’ table classic, finished off with the sweetness of cookie crumbs and a smattering of salty bacon on top.
Food & Drink
Butterscotch Pudding with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crumbs & Bacon Whipped Cream
Bourbon and bacon give this dessert a grown-up flavor
photo: Squire Fox
Snickerdoodle Cookie Crumbs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
7 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. cinnamon
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 cups whole milk, divided
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 tbsp. bourbon
Bacon Whipped Cream
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in a small dice
1 cup heavy cream
For the Snickerdoodle Cookie Crumbs (Make Ahead):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and ½ cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until thoroughly blended. Add flour mixture and mix on low until dough is just combined.
Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon, and spread out on a plate. Scoop out walnut-size balls of cookie dough and roll in the cinnamon sugar.
Place on cookie sheets about two inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown on the edges. Remove cookies to a rack to cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 250. Break six cookies into pieces, return to the oven, and bake until dry to the touch, 12–16 minutes. Store crumbs and remaining cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.
For the pudding:
Melt butter and sugar together in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Whisk in 2 cups of milk and salt. Split the vanilla bean, and scrape out the seeds into the pan. Whisk well, and bring mixture to a simmer.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and cornstarch with the remaining cup of milk. Add ½ cup of the warmed milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture to temper. Add everything back into the pan of warmed milk, and whisk while gently heating to a boil. Cook until pudding is thickened, about 8 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when a line drawn through the mixture on the back of a spoon coated with it remains. (If pudding contains any lumps at this point, strain once through cheesecloth.)
Stir in bourbon, then ladle custard into six serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the surface of the pudding to avoid having a skin form. Chill thoroughly before serving. Then top with snickerdoodle cookie crumbs and bacon whipped cream, and serve.
For the bacon whipped cream:
Crisp bacon in a skillet and drain on paper towels. Using an electric mixer, beat cream at medium speed until peaks form. Stir in bacon.
Recipe from chef Zak Miller of Coquette in New Orleans, LA
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