Happy National Butterscotch Pudding Day!
Butterscotch Pudding and I go WAAAAYYY back. Dessert wasn’t a nightly occurrence when I was growing up, but at least a few times a week my mom either cracked open a can of peaches – which led to Tim and I fighting over who got to drink the syrup out of the can – or whipped up a batch of butterscotch pudding for after dinner. My mom could expertly make pudding from a box to fit Tim and my weird pudding needs. We liked it a little chunky… with some of the mixture in clumps so that it exploded in your mouth like little flavor capsules.
She was always happy to oblige, though now that I think about it – it sounds really gross. Kids are weird.
I went into this holiday fully intending to make pudding EXACTLY like my mom did – how hard could it be?
For starters, Target was sold out of butterscotch pudding. Including the snack pack pre-made style. Like straight-up, bare shelf space in the pudding aisle. Maybe everyone in Midway St Paul is celebrating this holiday?
I decided in the moment that I could just buy plain or vanilla pudding and melt in some butterscotch chips…. I’m pretty sure that’s not how butterscotch pudding is made, but when I’m in Target I start thinking that I’m a Master Chef and know everything about cooking and recipes.
On a whim I read the ingredients in the Jell-o vanilla pudding….
Don’t do that. If, like me, you grew up eating Jell-o pudding and loving it… don’t subject yourself to that.
Beyond the second ingredient I could no longer pronounce what I was going to potentially eat…. then I got to the added yellow food coloring! Why is there added coloring to vanilla pudding?! It’s white! Or at best, a sort of beige color… either way, it’s the color of vanilla which shouldn’t require any amount of artificial coloring!!! Also, no where in the ingredients was vanilla listed!!! There was no vanilla extract in the vanilla pudding!!
Food rant over.
After a brief mental break down in the pudding aisle… I bought a weird brand of organic vanilla pudding. The ingredients list read: Organic Sugar, Organic Cornstarch, Organic Vanilla Flavor (Vanilla Extract). That’s it. I win.
Because I’m a hypocritical asshole, I bought some generic butterscotch “morsels” that have ALL the artificial colors in them, including “blue 2 lake” because that makes sense.
Here’s something I never realized in all the years my mom made us pudding – you have to heat it up on the stove at least 90 minutes before serving so that it incorporates properly and has time to “set up” and solidify. I’m not sure what kind of kitchen magic I thought my mom was doing when she made pudding – but it just always arrived at the table, perfectly chunky and delicious. I guess I assumed you just mixed pudding powder with milk and Voila! Pudding!
Because I was improvising most of this recipe, I heated some coconut milk on the stove with a handful of butterscotch morsels. (I know they are chips… but calling them morsels like the bag says makes me feel better about them…) I guess I thought this would create some kind of butterscotch milk that could be combined with the pudding mix?
It mostly turned into a thick oozy brown substance that vaguely tasted like butterscotch and mostly tasted like hot coconuts… (insert dirty jokes here, we all know we’re thinking them!)
At this point I was committed to my pudding recipe and added the powder. I thought if I didn’t stir it too much it would turn out just like my moms.
Wrong. So very, very wrong.
When I poured it into the serving bowls to cool, it looked a lot like my mom’s. There were definitely thicker spots that had the potential to be awesome little powder nuggets.
90 minutes later, I found out the truth of the situation.
I’m not sure if it was this particular brand or because I’m not a kitchen wizard like my mom, but instead of little powder balls, I wound up with little gel-like balls… sort of like bubble tea but not as gross. (What IS bubble tea anyway? It’s so weird!)
It was like eating vanilla slime with splash of butterscotch essence.
Afterwards I looked up some recipes for home made butterscotch pudding and found that I could have made something from scratch with ingredients I already had at home…. but fuck it, I just don’t roll that way!
I also probably could have called my mom…