Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Butterscotch pudding, a favorite comfort food for a winter weary Minnesotan January 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:44 AM

IT’S AN HOUR BEFORE SUPPER and I should be making something healthy for my family, maybe pulling together a salad, baked potatoes and broiled fish.

But instead, I am cooking a mixture of brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and egg yolks into butterscotch pudding. I need comfort food, not a well-balanced meal.

As I scrape a wooden spoon across the bottom of a heavy saucepan, I listen to the weather report on the radio. “A wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet is moving into the area…” the DJ warns.

I need comfort food. I need butterscotch pudding.

Soon the liquid thickens. I stir faster, swirling the wooden spoon in wicked circles through the pudding.

Tiny volcanoes erupt across the surface when the pudding reaches the boiling point. I stir harder, faster, chasing away splats that spew toward me.

I admire the inviting maple color, wonder how this hue would look on my living room walls. I stir some more and breathe in the sweet scent of brown sugar.

Stirring butter and vanilla into butterscotch pudding.

Then I turn off the heat, add two tablespoons of butter and a teaspoon of vanilla. They puddle on the surface until I mix the two into the creamy pudding. The color morphs from maple to a warm, golden hue.

I pour the pudding into three bowls, not the suggested four, although I briefly ponder hiding away a fourth serving.

“A wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet is moving into the area…” the DJ drones between songs.

I need comfort food. I need butterscotch pudding.

An ultimate comfort food, butterscotch pudding.


2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1/8 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 cups milk

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

2 Tbsp. softened butter

1 tsp. vanilla

Blend brown sugar, salt and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Combine milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into dessert dishes. Cool slightly and chill, or serve warm. Serves 4.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling