Hold the chocolate and the vanilla

COOKING FOR TWO

Flavor: Butterscotch's rich taste will please now as much as it did years ago.

January 27, 2002|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,Special to the Sun

If your dessert choices are either vanilla or chocolate, it's time to discover the old-fashioned goodness of butterscotch. It's possible you haven't tasted its rich, deep flavor in years. Unfortunately, butterscotch isn't a trendy taste right now. But once you taste the mellow combination of butter, brown sugar and milk, butterscotch will become a favorite.

You can dress butterscotch up or down. The most simple, and perhaps most comforting, dessert is plain pudding. If that's too spare, try butterscotch over a store-bought coffee cake, apple cake or pound cake. Serve it over poached pears or baked apples. You'll find butterscotch is very versatile. However, don't substitute fresh milk for the evaporated milk in the recipe, thinking you will improve the quality of the recipe. The "canned" taste is essential to butterscotch. Instead, jazz up your recipe by adding a smoky touch of Scotch.

The following adult-tasting pudding makes a great dessert any time. Serve it warm, and it has a sauce-like consistency. Chill the pudding and it becomes the stuff of your childhood dreams.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Butterscotch Pudding

Makes 2 servings

2 / 3 cup half-and-half or milk

one 5-ounce can evaporated milk

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 / 8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon Scotch whisky

1 tablespoon butter

In small, heavy-bottomed pan, combine 1/2 cup half-and- half, evaporated milk, brown sugar and salt. Bring to simmer.

Meanwhile, in bowl, stir together cornstarch and remaining half-and-half. Beat in egg yolks.

When milk mixture is simmering, pour small amount into bowl with egg yolks and stir well. Spoon egg yolk mixture back into pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in Scotch and simmer 1 minute to blend in alcohol. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until melted.

Strain pudding through sieve into serving bowl. May be served warm, or cover with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours before serving.

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