Mise en place is a cooking term that refers to having all your ingredients in place, and carefully reading the recipe, prior to getting started.
Mise en place is a method that all the best cooks employ. There’s nothing like moving seamlessly from one task to the next, knowing where to find the next ingredient you need. It’s the perfect way to stay organized in the kitchen and prepare a recipe without losing your mind.
I’ve yet to try it myself.
The first time I made these butterscotch puddings, I realized that everything kind of happened at once. I thought, “Next time I make them, I really need to be organized before I get started.”
The second time I made these puddings, I thought exactly the same thing. Except even more earnestly.
The recipe isn’t hard, but it’s fast-paced. And more than worth the effort when you sit down to enjoy the buttery, scotch-infused warmth of a butterscotch pudding.
The key to a delicious pudding (other than organization, without which it clearly still works) is using a strong single-malt scotch. This is the time to reach to the back of your cupboard and pull out that Laphroig that’s just a little too strong for your taste buds. Or the Lagavulin that you save for the people who will really appreciate it. If you don’t like scotch, buy a single malt and share it with a friend who does – like me!
(adapted from Baking from my home to yours)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 cup whole milk (first amount)
1/4 cup whole milk (second amount)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp scotch whisky (preferably a strong single malt)
Whipped cream for topping (optional)
Have six ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 1/2 to 3/4 cup, at hand.
Put the brown sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, put the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stirring and lowering the heat if necessary, boil for 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk, and all the cream, and bring to a boil. Don’t worry if, as it’s heating, the mixture curdles.
While the milk is heating, combine the cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and beat just to blend. Add the cornstarch mixture and beat just to blend.
With the beaters running, very slowly pour in the hot liquid. Beat for a few seconds, then pour everything back into the saucepan. Whisk without stopping over medium heat – making sure to get into the edges of the pan – until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles come to the surface and pop (about 2 minutes). You don’t want the pudding to boil, but you do want it to thicken, so lower the heat if necessary.
Scrape the pudding back into the blender and beat a few seconds. Add the butter, vanilla and scotch, and beat until everything is evenly blended.
Pour the pudding into the ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Top with whipped cream, if you like.