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Secret Recipe: Butterscotch Pot de Crème from Town Hall

Eyes widen when they spot Town Hall's buttercrunch toffee slicing into creamy layers of butterscotch and dark chocolate puddings. It's an American classic best served in a generous cereal bowl. You know, before you commit to any resolutions. 

7x7 asks the city's chefs for the recipes to their most loved cocktails, bar snacks, starters, mains, and desserts. If there's a dish you can't stop thinking about and want to make at home, email lauren@hartlemedia.com. Your wish may end up on the blog, along with the actual recipe from the chef.

Makes 10-12

Chocolate Pudding

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/3 cups sugar

 1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 vanilla beans, slit open

 2 cups cream

 4 egg yolks 

4 cups whole milk

12 ounces 62% dark chocolate

1 ounce butter

1. Whisk together the cocoa, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in the bottom of a dry, heavy-bottomed, medium pot. Add the vanilla beans, and then slowly whisk in the heavy cream, scraping the bottom with a spatula to make a homogenous mixture. Add yolks, whisking in until completely blended. Pour in milk and whisk well. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it is hot, stirring frequently. Then add the chocolate pieces, and whisk, scraping the bottom to ensure no chocolate burns while it is melting. Continue to cook over low heat until the mixture thickens and reaches 180 degrees. It may still look loose, but this is OK. It sets up as it cools.

2. When the mixture is ready, add the butter and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container.

3. Now you are ready to ladle the pudding into your serving bowls. Place them in the refrigerator to chill and set before ladling on the butterscotch pudding.

Butterscotch Pudding

7 cups, plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 vanilla bean, split open

1 cup egg yolks

1 tablespoon scotch

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

6 ounces butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, scald 7 cups cream, salt, and vanilla bean.

3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the scotch, water, brown sugar, and remaining cream. Set aside.

4. Turn the heat off the saucepan, and stir in the scotch mixture and butterscotch chips, whisking to melt the chips and distribute evenly. Temper the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks a little at a time.

5. Strain this mixture through a fine mesh sieve and pour directly into a baking dish. Bake in a water bath at 350 degrees, wrapped in foil, approximately 40-60 minutes, or until just starting to set. The custard is done when it jiggles as one if you move it gently. Remove from water bath and let cool at room temperature.

6. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve a second time, and ladle into your serving bowls over the chilled chocolate pudding. Chill again before serving.

Buttercrunch

1 ¼ cup sugar

1/3 cup corn syrup

1/3 cup water

8 ouces butter

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

8 ounces 62% dark chocolate, tempered

1. Have ready a large offset spatula and silpat-lined sheet tray. Combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and butter in a shallow pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is the color of peanut butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in the salt and baking soda.

2. Pour out directly onto the silpat, and spread out as evenly as possible with your spatula to ensure a thin toffee. Invert the toffee onto another silpat, and then remove the mat so as to be sure it is not stuck. Then invert the toffee again, and wipe off any grease that may have formed on the surface with a paper towel. Now pour your tempered chocolate over the toffee and spread out into a thin, even, layer, and let sit until it is set completely.

3. Break into pieces and use to top your pot de crèmes, which keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days.

Photo by SanFranAnnie