“Do you remember butterscotch pudding?” asked my aunt Rekha when she came for a short stay at my parents home. I used to make it so often years ago, she continued. Being a lacto-vegetarian, I asked her: “have you tried making it without eggs?” requesting her to make a small portion, using agar agar. On the day she left, she made a small portion of the pudding which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Since I had not made anything for a long time, I wanted to make something when Ro came visiting. I reworked the proportions of the pudding and my mother and I made it together. It is quite wonderful to cook with my mother. When I venture into her kitchen to make something, she enthusiastically comes forward to help me.
Ro ofcourse enjoyed the pudding. It was like old times, when he used to come visiting when we were engaged, only this time we had a tiny bundle of joy, our son amidst us. It will be quite sometime before I get back to Mumbai, until then I’m reveling in the comforts that a mother’s home has to offer.
Many stories abound the meaning of the term " butterscotch" and it need not necessarily have scotch in it. Being a strict vegetarian, I always look for lovely puddings and desserts without eggs and gelatine. Although eggs are considered non-vegetarian in India, most chefs pass desserts with gelatine as vegetarian. It is quite a task to order such desserts at restaurants. That’s exactly why I love agar-agar. It does a fantastic job of replacing gelatine in puddings and desserts, if used in the right proportions.
This pudding was very comforting to eat with the enticing butterscotch flavour. The praline gives the needed crunch to this soft, creamy and buttery pudding.
Eggless Butterscotch Pudding Recipe
Double the quantity of butter used for a more buttery taste.
1 litre/4 cups milk (preferably whole milk)*, at room temperature
8 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
6 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
10 gm agar agar/china grass flakes* (10 tbsp)
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the praline:
3 tbsp nuts (almonds and cashewnuts)
2 tbsp sugar
Tear the agar agar flakes into tiny bits and place it in the water for half an hour to soften it. Mix the cornflour with ½ cup of milk and keep aside.
In a wok or a saucepan, place the butter and sugar and cook on a medium flame until the sugar turns a golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the milk and stir until the sugar dissolves. When you pour in the milk, place the agar-agar with the water on a separate burner on a medium flame and cook until the agar agar melts.
When the sugar is dissolved, pour in the milk-cornflour mixture and cook till the entire mixture thickens. Stir in the hot melted clear agar agar solution into the milk and cook for a couple of minutes more before removing it from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and when it is slightly warm pour into one large pudding mould or individual ones. When it comes to room temperature, place in the refrigerator and chill for atleast 4 hours. Top with the praline powder and serve.
To make the praline:
In a heavy bottomed medium sized wok or saucepan, melt the sugar. When the sugar melts add in the nuts. After a couple of minutes, remove from flame and immediately transfer on a platform. Flatten with a spatula. After it cools, break into pieces and use as required.
* For a tastier version use 25% cream and 75% milk or if you want to be more daring, use 50% cream and 50% milk.
* If you are using agar-agar powder, see the instructions here.
Serves 4 to 6