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'Scotch Guard

Everything's better when it's covered with caramel
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Barbuzzo

Chef Marcie Turney and partner Valerie Safran have been fixtures of Philadelphia's restaurant scene for years, but their new spot, Barbuzzo, is their finest to date. The sleek restaurant's Italian small-plates menu has quickly put it in a league with the city's most famous tables. And no matter how sated by cheese-stuffed meatballs or fire-roasted sardines diners may be, practically no one leaves without ordering this budino, a rich butterscotch pudding topped with a layer of candylike salted caramel. The dessert packs enough complexity to top off your best dinner party effort--but it's comforting (and indulgent) enough to make any weeknight meal something special.

Salted-Caramel Budino

Recipe adapted from Marcie Turney, Barbuzzo, Philadelphia

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

Salted caramel

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 tablespoons water

¼ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Pudding

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)

½ cup dark brown sugar, packed

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2½ cups half-and-half

1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Whipped cream, for serving

Directions

1. Make the salted caramel: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil over high heat, swirling (not stirring) to caramelize evenly. When the caramel reaches a dark amber color (about 3 minutes), remove from the heat and carefully add the cream. (The mixture will foam up.) Add the butter, sea salt and vanilla and whisk to combine. Set aside and reserve.

2. Make the pudding: In a saucepan, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, water and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture darkens slightly in color. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half until smooth.

3. In a large, heatproof mixing bowl, whisk the whole egg with the egg yolks and cornstarch until combined. Whisk in the maple-syrup-brown-sugar mixture in a slow, thin stream. Pour the mixture into the saucepan through a fine-mesh strainer and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens to a puddinglike texture, about 5 minutes.

4. Divide the pudding among four 8-ounce ramekins or small mason jars and top each with a quarter of the reserved caramel. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Sprinkle the top of the puddings with sea salt and a dollop of whipped cream before serving.

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