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Butterscotch Pudding from The Lark Creek Inn

November 15, 2017

 Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and when it comes to dessert the obvious choice is pumpkin pie. But what if you or your guests are not huge fans of the traditional offering?

For years my family dined at The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, CA. When it was announced that they were transitioning to a more casual dining scene during the recession I panicked. Why? Because whenever we dined there we would consider dessert before ordering our main course. All because of the Butterscotch Pudding. Concerned that the revamped restaurant might change its dessert menu I took a chance and asked for the recipe. Low and behold they gave it to me.

This butterscotch pudding complements the Thanksgiving table; something without pumpkin spice but with all of the fall feels. It’s everything you would want in a holiday dessert; a velvety consistency, not too sweet and a beautiful hue of pale gold fitting with the season. And the great part about this decadent, creamy pudding is that it can be made ahead of time, adding freshly whipped cream at service.

The beauty of this recipe it that it uses butterscotch chips rather than having to make butterscotch from scratch. Using seeds from a vanilla bean may seem exotic but the flavor it adds to this pudding is key. Yes, vanilla beans are more costly than simply using vanilla extract but this is a holiday dessert after all and you deserves the best!


Ingredients for Butterscotch Pudding

To extract the vanilla bean seeds, simply lay a pod on a flat surface. Using a sharp knife cut down the middle of the pod from top to bottom. Fold the halves open. Begin at one end of the pod and lightly scrape the knife’s edge down along the inside of the pod, lifting the seeds from the pod.

vanilla bean seeds

Seeds from a vanilla bean

Quality is key!

This recipe calls for  just 8 ingredients so now is not the time to compromise on quality. I used locally produced heavy whipping cream, farmers’ market eggs and Guittard butterscotch chips, shop your local farmers’ market and stores for the best available ingredients in your area.  I guarantee this pudding will shine on your holiday table.

Just before serving, add a dollop of whipped cream. If you’re looking for a bit more dazzle, then a drizzle of homemade or store-bought caramel sauce, a dusting of ground cinnamon or chocolate shavings would dress it up.

If you’re looking for a last-minute appetizer for Turkey Day try this cranberry apple salsa!

Happy Holidays!


Butterscotch Pudding from The Lark Creek Inn

Yield: 8-10 depending on size of ramekin


  • 1 3/4 quarts heavy whipping cream (preferably organic) plus 1/2 ounce heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 12 ounces butterscotch chips (I use Guittard)
  • 10 egg yolks, large
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 ounce Scotch
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Put 1 3/4 quarts of heavy cream and butterscotch chips into a large saucepan (I recommend using a pan about three times the volume of this mixture). Split open vanilla bean in half and scrape the inside of the bean from top to bottom, add the seeds to the cream. Bring all to a boil, turn off heat and set aside.(I recommend staying close to this mixture, it will take a while to heat up but once it does it comes to a boil very quickly).
  3. Place the egg yolks into a large bowl. Slowly add the above mixture only a few drops at a time in the beginning which tempers the egg yolk and avoids scrambling the eggs. Then proceed with a steady stream. Set aside
  4. Fill a kettle with water, place on stove and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer.
  5. Mix the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan, place over low heat and let mixture caramelize stirring frequently about 5 minutes. Watching carefully so as not to burn. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the scotch and remaining 1/2 ounce heavy cream. Return to heat and stir until all is melted, thickened and darkened in color about 1 minute. Pour this into the cream and egg based mixture. Add salt and stir until dissolved.
  6. Using a mesh strainer, strain mixture into ovenproof ramekins (I found it easier to pour this mixture into a container with a spout, like a pyrex, and then into the ramekins). Depending on what size ramekins you use (I tested many and found that a wide and shallow dish similar to one that is typically used for creme brûlée, 8 ounces, is best) will determine how many will fit into a 9" X 13" baking pan (in this case it was 3, you can place two pans side by side in the oven to cook 6 at a time). They can be snug but with space around the surface of each ramekin. Place in oven but before closing door add the heated water into the pan making sure not to get any into the puddings. Fill until water reaches halfway up the ramekins. Bake at 250 degrees until puddings set. This should take about 60 minutes depending on size of ramekin. To test, if pudding jiggles just slightly but mostly firm, it's done. Using a hot mitt and spatula, remove ramekins from water bath onto a cooling rack. When cool, place in refrigerator until set, at least four hours or overnight. When serving, garnish with whipped cream.








Home Lifestyle

The SLOW Week No. 5

September 17, 2017

Hello! It’s been a looooong time, hope you had a great summer!


S-shop: I can’t say it enough and especially this time of year, shop a local farmers’ market! Supply is up so prices are dropping but that won’t last long. Melons are selling for $1/pound, heirloom tomatoes for $2.50/pound and zucchini for $2/pound, all organic! You can freeze whole tomatoes in a plastic bags for winter use. Every September I make a big batch of this heirloom tomato soup and freeze, you’ll be glad you did. There is nothing like a warm bowl of this soup alongside a gooey grilled cheese on a cold winter’s night. And don’t forget to buy fruit and freeze for smoothies!

L-learn: The podcast The Splendid Table “is public radio’s culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrated food and it’s ability to touch the lives and feed the soles of everyone”. I especially enjoyed the most recent Seasons episode particularly the part about Gravenstein apples from Sebastopol, CA which starts at the 29:00 mark.

O-own:  salad spinner.  Of all the kitchen equipment I have (and I have a lot!!!) I use my spinner on a daily basis. I prefer spinners with 3 parts, a bowl, strainer basket and a top. They are easy to use, just fill up the bowl with cool clean water. Toss in greens or herbs and allow to sit about 15 minutes then lift out the basket. Don’t toss that water down the drain, water a plant or two! Then replace the basket and spin until dry. I then remove the greens and place on a clean kitchen towel, allowing them to air dry for a bit, just to make sure they are absolutely dry. Salad dressing will not coat wet greens. You can store your greens in the salad spinner (without water) until ready to use.

W-watch:  Pumpkin spice was so 2016! I think caramel  apple flavor is the next craze. This video of Carmel Apple Cake, Has me craving all things fall (well kinda, I’m still really really in love with tomatoes).

Have a great week!


Home Lifestyle

The SLOW Week Vol.4

April 26, 2017

S-Shop for starters/seedlings. Now is the time to be thinking about vegetables you’d like to plant in your garden. Farmers’ markets, nurseries and pop-up sales are good places to find heirloom tomatoes, peppers, herbs and plenty of other seasonal vegetables. This past weekend, I visited Cornerstone in Sonoma for the annual Tomatomania sale, a two-day sale of 300 heirloom and hybrid tomatoes. So when you go shopping for your garden, grab your favorites and add a new variety to the mix. I picked up a new one called Michael Pollan!

L-Learn I am loving the podcast The Feed by Rick Bayless and Steve Dolinsky. Great information, topics and information……and it’s free! 

O-Own a bag drying rackI try to limit the consumption of resealable plastic bags but in all honesty they are handy for a variety of reasons mainly marinating meat and vegetables. When I can, I wash and reuse only those that have been used for fruits and vegetables, those that are used for meat and fish I discard. Alternatively, you could use a tall drinking glass with wooden skewers.

W-Watch SustainableThis week I attended a viewing of the movie at a local bookstore. The movie reminded me of Food Inc, the movie I mentioned in last week’s post. The movie highlights farmers, the struggles they face making a living and the difference between small farmers and big-ag farming.

I haven’t been posting a weekly report as much of the same is still around. I do know, after speaking with a few farmers, is that early peach varieties will arrive within the month, cherries are just around the corner and mulberries will arrive soon!

Have a great week!

Home Lifestyle

The SLOW Week vol.3

April 17, 2017

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Did you visit a farmers’ market?  I had hoped to shop the Napa Farmers Market on Saturday, the opening day, sadly it didn’t happen. I was able to make a stop at my regular Thursday market. I did not post a Weekly Report as the fruit and vegetables selection was virtually unchanged.

Here is the third installment of The SLOW Week. 

S-Shop for organic strawberries. Why organic? Strawberries top the list of The Dirty Dozen, a list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest amount of pesticides. Strawberries tested by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2014 and 2015 contained on average 7.7 different pesticides per sample, compared to 2.3 per sample for all other produce, according to a new EWG (Environmental Working Group) analysis. Plus, they are at their prime and so delicious!

L-Learn about safe seafood choices. The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers Seafood Watch guides for each state. There are three categories, “Best Choices”, “Good Alternatives” and “Avoid”. So whether you’re at your local fishmonger, favorite restaurant or traveling you can make an informed choice anywhere.

O-Own a subscription to  Edible magazine. With 90 editions there is surely one for your area. These magazines highlight local food, purveyors, chefs and stories, connecting people to their food communities.

W-Watch Food Inc. When the film was released in 2009 it shocked viewers. The film exposes the corporate control over food systems in America, inhumane treatment of animals and the use of pesticides to name just a few.

Wishing you a sweet week!


Home Lifestyle

The SLOW Week 2

April 10, 2017

Hello Monday! Here is the second installment of The SLOW Week. If you missed last week’s explanation and information click here.

S-Shop reusable produce bags. Most everyone nowadays owns a few reusable shopping bags now it’s time to move beyond that. There are two types of bags, mesh and cloth, both are better options than one-time use plastic. I personally prefer cloth as they can be washed over and over again, I put them in a mesh lingerie bag and wash with my kitchen towels. If you are crafty you can make them!

last week I encouraged you to try a new vegetable. I did the same and cooked up rapini-it was delicious.  

LLearn how to handle a knife. As I mentioned in my post last week, a sharp knife is better than a dull one. It helps to know how to properly hold a knife so that you avoid cutting yourself.

O-Own-an instant-read thermometer. Grilling season is upon us and an instant-read thermometer is an inexpensive piece of equipment that is vital to have on hand. The benefits of an instant-read versus a leave- in thermometer are that you need only insert the tip rather than about an inch of a leave-in thermometer. An instant read typically calculates the temperature much faster and more accurately.

W-Watch-Michael Pollan is best known for his book The Omnivores Dilemma. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do so. His book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation has been turned into a Netflix series. He explores cooking by four elements; fire, water, air and earth. It’s a fascinating journey.

Have a great week!