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Butterscotch Budino

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.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword butterscotch, caramel, caramel pudding
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 460 kcal
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.

Recipe Notes

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.