Butterscotch Budino with Salted Shortbread Crumble

This luscious version of Butterscotch Budino comes with a layer of salted caramel on the bottom and salted shortbread cookie crumbles on top.

Butterscotch Budino

The cozy feels are in full effect right now- sweat pants, snuggles (with kitties) and Netflix marathons that we fall asleep to on the couch- these are the sorts of sexy, enthralling antics that newlyweds get up to every night, right? But I live for it: cats, couches and comfy clothes. And maybe some of this insane Butterscotch Budino.

Butterscotch Budino

This recipe has been up here on LPE for a few years, back when my photography skills were meager at best. But I thought it could use some love in the form of prettier pictures, because over the years it has emerged as one of my catering company’s signature desserts. I’ve made this Butterscotch Budino at least a hundred times. I could probably make it with my eyes closed except for the fact that caramel tends to burn if you don’t keep an eye on it.

Salted Caramel Sauce being poured into a glass

What is Butterscotch Budino?

Butterscotch Budino is simply the Italian version of butterscotch pudding. The pudding itself is made with caramelized brown sugar, milk, heavy cream, eggs, corn starch, butter, salt and touch of dark rum. Some features of my layered version include:

  • A base of thick salted caramel on the bottom
  • A generous layer of smooth, creamy butterscotch pudding in the middle
  • A dollop of fresh whipped cream
  • Buttery shortbread cookie crumbs for textural contrast
  • A sprinkle of crunchy, flaky sea salt on top

Butterscotch Budino

Why you’ll love this recipe:

The pudding is addicting in and of itself, but then the caramel adds an intense richness, those cookie crumbs give it a much needed dose of crunch, and everyone will love the flaky finishing salt because it balances out all that sweetness. But it must be crunchy salt. Maldon is my go-to.

sprinkling cookies crumbs on Butterscotch Budino

And we can’t forget about that little tuft of whipped cream. It somehow lightens up the whole thing. So for all those reasons and more this Butterscotch Budino (this exact rendition, because I have made several throughout the years, but this is the one) stands out as the most popular dessert with my clients. But as the chef, I have a soft spot for it because it is so easy to prepare in advance and super quick to assemble, meaning it’s a great dessert for when you’re making 87 other things.

Butterscotch Budino with shortbread cookie crumble and whipped cream

Chef’s Tips

The biggest tip I can offer for successful butterscotch budino is to keep a close eye during the sugar caramelization stages for both the caramel sauce and the budino because the sugar can easily burn if you’re not paying attention.

Another important tip is to strain the budino using a mesh strainer after it has finished cooking. This will eliminate any lumpiness from either the corn starch or any bits of egg that may have been overcooked and will result in a smooth, silky texture.

I have also found using the best quality brown sugar you can find really makes a big difference in the overall quality of the finished product. I often like to use Muscovado sugar because I find that the flavor of the pudding has much more depth, richness and complexity compared to when I’ve used regular dark brown sugar. But if regular is all you’ve got, feel free to use it! It will still be amazingly delicious.

Butterscotch Budino with shortbread cookie crumble and whipped cream

If you’re in a hurry, you can certainly use store bought caramel sauce and store bought shortbread cookies. Like I said, I’m usually over here making 87 other things, so I’ve definitely gone with ready made caramel sauce on more than one occasion, and I actually always use store bought shortbread cookies since you only need a couple of cookies rather than an entire batch, and they just get crushed up. Walker’s Shortbread is my go-to shortbread cookie because they taste so buttery and are not too sweet- not sponsored, I’m just sharing what I honestly buy and use! If you are going to try these store bought shortcuts, just make sure to purchase really good quality stuff and you’ll be in good shape.

Butterscotch Budino

Thanks for reading! To keep up with me in the kitchen, follow me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. If you make this Butterscotch Budino, share it with the hashtag #LePetitEats!

Butterscotch Budino
4.84 from 6 votes

Butterscotch Budino with Salted Shortbread Crumble

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword butterscotch, caramel
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Denisse


For the salted caramel:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the budino:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum

For the toppings:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 shortbread biscuits crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt


To make the salted caramel:

  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat.  Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, without stirring. Let the mixture continue boiling until it turns an amber color. This will take about 5-10 minutes.

  2. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the heavy cream, taking care since the mixture will bubble up. Mix in the butter, vanilla, and salt. Pour the caramel sauce into a heatproof dish and allow to cool completely.

To make the budino:

  1. Combine cream and milk in medium bowl. Add egg, egg yolks and cornstarch to a separate medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside

  2. Stir brown sugar, water and salt in a medium sized pot over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Swirl the pot occasionally but do not stir, and brush down the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush. Boil until mixture turns dark amber in color and has a thick, syrupy texture, about 5-7 minutes.

  3. Immediately whisk in cream mixture (take care as mixture will bubble up) and whisk constantly to dissolve the caramel bits. Bring the mixture to a boil (keep an eye on it to prevent the pot from boiling over), then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.

  4. Gradually whisk half of the hot caramel mixture into the egg mixture, then add entire contents back into the pot. Whisk over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the custard boils and begins to thicken. Remove from heat, then add butter and rum, stirring to incorporate.
  5. Pass mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a container. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.

To assemble:

  1. Pour about 2 tablespoons each of caramel sauce into 4 small glasses or jars. Heating it for about 30 seconds in the microwave will make it easier to pour. Allow caramel sauce to cool a bit before adding the budino. 

  2. Divide budino evenly amongst jars.

  3. To make the whipped cream, combine 1/2 cup of heavy cream with the confectioners sugar in an electric mixer and whip until smooth peaks form.

  4. Top each budino with dollops of fresh whipped cream, a sprinkle of sea salt and shortbread crumbles.

This luscious made from scratch Butterscotch Budino comes with a layer of homemade salted caramel at the bottom and crispy salted shortbread cookie crumbles on top. Serve this decadent dessert for Easter Brunch or Mother's Day #dessert #easterbrunch

More luscious desserts:

Chocolate Bourbon Pots de Creme

S’mores Parfaits

Mexican Chocolate Pots De Creme

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  1. Virginia

    If you choose to make the shortbread is there a go to recipe you use? I like the Joy of Cooking one – it’s easy and delicious – but maybe you have one? Thanks!

    1. Denisse Post author

      Ina Garten’s shortbread cookies have never failed me! They’re easy to google, I think the recipe is on the food network site.


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