Salted Butterscotch Mousse Cups
A handful of blocks from my house sits Blue Plate, a long-standing neighborhood eatery that has become a favorite local haunt. It’s cramped and cozy, with a kitchen so tiny, I wonder how on Earth they manage to produce such terrific food. There is a back patio that beckons on any of the rare warm San Francisco summer nights. While the name of the restaurant implies the food is rather pedestrian, it is, at its best, inspired, while being completely unpretentious. A rare balance. Most importantly, Blue Plate churns out the best Salted Butterscotch Pudding I’ve ever tasted. It’s a “make room for dessert” kind of dessert if ever there was one.
And so, since my last visit there, I’ve had butterscotch on the brain. But knowing that nobody does Blue Plate pudding better than Blue Plate, I decided to add my own spin, resulting in these Salted Butterscotch Mousse Cups.
Butterscotch, as far as I can gather, comes from our friends over in England. It is essentially butter and brown sugar, cooked down to caramel goodness. I use both ingredients here, just scaled back relative to more classic recipes. I also rely on two percent reduced fat milk rather than whole milk or cream, which still manages to give the dessert the richness it deserves. Folding in beaten egg whites is what turns this from pudding to mousse, making it light in both texture and calories. As a result, each dessert teeters just over 250 calories, not bad for something so very decadent looking and tasting. To finish things off, sliced ripe bananas and a drizzle of chocolate crown the top.
A couple of things to keep in mind when making this:
- The egg whites aren’t cooked in this recipe, so I recommend using Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs. If you can’t track them down, feel free to use yolks from regular eggs (since those are cooked) and pasteurized egg whites from a carton.
- It’s a terrific dessert for parties and holiday gatherings, since the individual cups are easy to serve and pretty to look at.. You can make the pudding up to a day ahead of time, but beat and fold in the egg whites and add the banana and chocolate just before serving.
- When you buy chocolate syrup, have a peek at the label, since some brands are made with artificial ingredients. You could also just melt dark chocolate and use that instead.
Salted Butterscotch Mousse
A light and creamy dessert with comes in about about 250 calories a serving.
- 3 pasteurized eggs, such as Safest Choice, separated
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups 2 percent milk, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 heaping teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespooons chocolate syrup, divided
- Flaky sea salt or fleur de sel (optional)
- 3 bananas
Put the egg whites in a small, very clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Put the yolks in a medium bowl and add the cornstarch, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of the milk. Whisk well. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and salt and stir with a whisk. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk to the pan and whisk until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook, whisking regularly, until the milk heats up and tiny bubbles form around the edge. When the milk looks like it’s just about to boil, turn it down to low so that it doesn’t, and scoop 1 cup of milk from the pot.
Very slowly pour the cup of hot milk into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking the entire time so the heat of the milk doesn't scramble the eggs. Then, slowly add the milk/egg mixture to the pan with brown sugar/milk, whisking all the while. Turn the heat to high and bring the pudding to a boil, whisking continuously. Cook until the pudding turns thick and creamy. When it is thick enough that a line forms when you drag a spoon through the center, the pudding is done. Remove from heat. Transfer to a medium bowl and cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap so that it doesn't form a “skin”. Refrigerate until the pudding is completely chilled and firm, several hours or overnight.
Remove the pudding from the refrigerator and stir with a whisk until creamy.
Put the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer, making sure your equipment is supremely clean. Whip the egg whites on medium-low speed. After about 1 minute, when the whites begin to foam, add the cream of tartar and continue to beat, gradually increasing to high. When the whites begin to thicken, add the sugar and continue to whip into stiff peaks, keeping in mind that pasteurized whites take longer than non-pasteurized, so be patient.
Add the whipped egg whites to the pudding and use a rubber spatula to gently fold them in until you have a creamy, smooth mousse. Add 1 tablespoon of the chocolate sauce to the bowl and run a spoon through it to make chocolate ribbons in the mousse.
Divide the butterscotch mousse between 8 small bowls, glasses, or jelly jars. Top each one with a tiny sprinkle of fleur de sel, if using. Peel and cut the bananas into thin slices and divide them over the pudding. Top each one with a small drizzle of the remaining chocolate syrup. Serve immediately.