Pizzeria Mozza's Butterscotch Budino

Despite my general paleness, dislike of Diet Coke, and progressive political leanings, one of the ways I know that I am indeed my mother's daughter is our shared love for super-thin crust pizza and dessert. Armed with this knowledge, the last time Mom was in town, I took her to Pizzeria Mozza where the two of us sat at the bar and indulged in a round of, in Mozza-speak, antipasti, pizza and dulci. It was great. Mom loved everything. And for one meal, we were a united food front—with only a moment of discord when the bartender recommended pairing their infamous dessert, the butterscotch budino, with the Moscato. My eyes lit up but Mom was already shaking her head no. (Mom doesn't like "the taste" of alcohol.) For the rest of the trip, all other fancy desserts paled in comparison. Sweet Lady Jane's Princess Cake? Urth Caffe's Chocolate Hazelnut? Mom concluded the same: "Not as good as that budino!"

When I arrived at the beach with the recipe printed out, my mom looked at me like I had just pulled the sword out of the stone. (In case you haven't heard already, the Internet is anathema to my mom and these kinds of everyday Google searches still somehow shock her. For the next fifteen minutes, I was fielding questions like: How did you find it? And: But who would leave this recipe floating around in the Internet?)

After Mom's and my canola oil/ olive oil disagreement, I knew I needed to keep my ingredient shopping on the down low, especially since Mom was fine with using vanilla extract instead of the bean and forgoing the dark rum altogether, but I didn't want to go Nancy Silverton/Mario Batali-lite on this. I wanted the budino exactly as remembered.

Remember when you were younger and would sneak around smoking cigarettes and/or doing other activities parents typically frown upon? What about shopping for vanilla bean and dark rum? With the veiled excuse of "really exploring" Charleston, Matt and I split up from the group to scour downtown Charleston for these already-vetoed ingredients. Half an hour later, we met up with our parents at the restaurant with the vanilla bean secured but alas, no dark rum. (South Carolina is one of those states where you can only purchase liquor at a liquor store—another reason to appreciate California? For sure.)

Pizzeria Mozza's version (our picture):

our version:
I didn't get the dark caramel color in either the pudding or the caramel sauce. For the pudding, I believe I can safely say this was because of our lack of rum and the substitution of brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar, but as for the sauce, I think I just didn't let it cook long enough.
I know what a huge hit my last animated gif was, so here is another one for you. I couldn't resist. You can kind of get the vibe of the whole vacay.
This one is pretty great, too.
"None of my parents are in this shot, right, Matt?"

Imperfect ingredients and all, the overall taste wasn't so far off from Mozza's. It's sweet and rich with just the right amount of salt, and the topping—whipped cream and creme fraiche—adds this tangy coolness that mellows out all that butter. Truly delicious.

A few tips:
1. Really let that caramel sauce bubble and cook until it's medium amber in color.
2. Allow yourself longer than 3 hours for the pudding to set up—after four hours, ours wasn't as custardy as I would have liked.
3. And lastly: enjoy with loved ones.

Butterscotch Budino with Caramel Sauce via NY Times:
Adapted from Dahlia Narvaez of Pizzeria Mozza
Time: 1 hour, plus 3 hours’ chilling

3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/8 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2teaspoons kosher salt
5 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum

3/4 cup heavy cream
Scrapings from 1-inch piece of vanilla bean, or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
2tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons fleur de sel
3/4 cup crème fraîche.
1. For the budino, combine cream and milk in bowl or pitcher, set aside. Whisk egg, egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl, set aside.
2. Combine brown sugar, kosher salt and 1/2 cup water in pot. Place over medium-high heat and let sit until edges start to brown. Tilt pot as needed to even the browning until caramelized, nutty and deep brown, about 10 minutes.
3. Immediately whisk in cream mixture, mixture will steam and caramel will seize. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Whisk a cup at a time into egg mixture until half is incorporated. Remove from heat, and immediately whisk egg mixture back into pot until custard is very thick, about 2 minutes.
4. Whisk in butter and rum. Pass through a fine mesh strainer and divide among 10 6-ounce ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap, allow to cool, and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours or up to 3 days.
5. For sauce, combine 1/2 cup of cream and the vanilla in medium saucepan. Heat until simmering. Add butter and remove from heat; set aside.
6. In large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine corn syrup, sugar and enough water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make a wet, sandy mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling pan for even cooking, until mixture is medium amber, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in cream mixture; set aside and let cool. (May be refrigerated and reheated before serving.)
7. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large bowl until it begins to thicken. Add crème fraîche and whisk until thick and fluffy. To serve, spoon a tablespoon of warm caramel sauce over each budino. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel, and add a dollop of cream topping.
Yield: 10 servings.
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Green Been Food said...

Oh yum! My kind of sweety dessert!! Delicious.

Matthew said...

This might be the greatest dessert ever -- I had it for breakfast on our last day at the beach.

Jodi said...

Love that you made this!!! It's insanely good and i've been dying to try it at home!

Ana Degenaar said...

That looks so darn good! I need some of that ASAP!
Thanks for the recipe!

Dawn said...

I gotta side with your mom on this one...I don't like the taste of alcohol either. Why would I put something that smells like rotten fruit in my mouth? But I do love to use it in cooking and baking, so I've got a good supply of Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Raspberry liquor, peppermint schnapps...you know, all the good stuff for baking.

love your recipes and photos! And your writing style...makes me wish for longer posts :)

Andrea said...

Those look amazing! Where did you eat in Charleston? Adam and I went there on a "babymoon".

amelia said...

thanks, people!
Dawn: love that you have such a well-stocked cooking-liquor cabinet! and thank you--I wish I could always write long/longer posts.

Andrea: I meant to link to it. We went to Hank's. It was awesome! low country Southern-style seafood. the best.

Marsha and Mark said...

It looks delicious and we learned a new word -- budino. We agree with Matt -- we would definitely eat budino for breakfast.

Anonymous said...

You are joking. JOKING. Do you know how much I love this dessert? And now you are telling me I can make it at home and it will be just as/almost as good? I think my head just exploded.

Mary Anne said...

Here's how I wanted to respond to your gif:

Quick, hide the vanilla bean, Mom just walked in the door!

That looks soooooo good... wish you could make it for me!

Heather Taylor said...

always wanted to make this. probably my favorite dessert in LA.

sinosoul.com said...

Animated gif huzzah! not one of my fave desserts even in Mozza - that'd be olive oil rosemary cake and olive oil gelato, but such a crowd pleasure in terms of sugar + fatty fat fatness. Good times.

jeana sohn said...

seriously!!! yummmmmm!!!