Taking Scissors to Sunset

ImageSunset Magazine is a Northern California publication that writes about the West. I mentioned in a previous post that it is what I want my future to look like. There are articles on cooking, housing, travel and more. The recipes they post are especially good and so I tend to cut them out and save them for a future date. Well, the future is here, so let’s wait no more! I plan to do a series where I try out a Sunset Magazine recipe once a month and of course, I’ll always to do it on a budget.

The first stepImage was to get a trusty helper involved. I find a lot of my recipes through food blogs and Pinterest… but it is always one woman making the thing herself! Then you go to the comments and it’s a bunch more women elevating her to domestic goddess status. While there’s nothing wrong with this (please continue, I use those recipes!), I thought it’d be cool if I invited someone else to cook with me each month, to send the message that anyone can do what we do over here. It’s more fun this way. To the right you will see Jenna, the lady with whom I channeled my inner domestic goddess.

For March’s experiment, I decided to make a fancy Italian pudding dish, Butterscotch Budino with Caramel and Sea Salt. The recipe originated at Pizzeria Mozza, a popular restaurant here in LA. You can find the list of ingredients and more detailed directions here.

The first thing I recommend you do is measure things out, chop what needs chopping and have it all ready in case things move fast. I found when making this dish, it was very similar to the process of making ice cream and most of the steps can be done in about twenty minutes (that part is not true for ice cream!!).

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Sara and Jenna’s Process:

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Homemade Whiskey

Whisk 3 egg yolks, 1 whole egg and 7 tablespoons of cornstarch in a bowl. At the same time, boil 1/2 cup of water, 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt in saucepan until mixture is thick. Reduce heat to low and stir in 3 cups of heavy whipping cream and 1.5 cups of whole milk. You may be noticing something…this recipe is gluten free! A bonus if you have a guest with dietary restrictions. Next, introduce your eggs to the cream by pouring half of the cream mixture into the egg, whisking the whole time. This was a very two-cook-appropriate step; incentive to bring a friend along when you try it out yourself! After fully mixed, combine the two in the saucepan with the remaining cream. Continue stirring for up to 6 minutes, until mixture is very thick and custard-like. Once that’s done, take it off the heat and add 5 tablespoons (squared) of unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons of whiskey. Our whiskey was no ordinary pour… Jenna’s husband makes it at home! He brought over a splash to help us out, so this dish became FULLY homemade! Very cool and something to always strive for if you can. He wasn’t able to uncap his scotch, so we substituted it for bourbon, which we all agreed worked well in the final product. I’m no whiskey pro, but I would venture to say that any type you have around the house would probably do the trick if you’re trying to save money.

We put it in the fridge to cool for four hours, the minimum the recipe recommends. That was plenty, if you were wondering. Instead of crème fraîche, we used some of the remaining cream and added a little bourbon extract to make a dollop of whipped cream for the top. It recommends a quality caramel; I bought mine at Trader Joe’s… I think it worked fine! We also sprinkled some Maldon salt on the top.

The final tasting: I will say, when we started making this, I thought for sure we were working on a sweet dish. I was very surprised to learn it is actually mild in the sugar department, despite its healthy serving of the brown stuff. Do with that what you will, but if I ever make this again, I will probably up the amount of sugar I put in the whipped cream to give it more balance against the rest of the dish. I went back to the list of ingredients to tally what I spent to make this dessert for six people. I already had all of the ingredients except for the caramel, whole milk and heavy whipping cream. That is the value of a well stocked kitchen, and if you aren’t there, you can be very soon with a couple of easy steps. It cost me $10 to do this dish and probably around 30 minutes of cooking with a friend. Time and money well spent! Thanks Sunset!

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