Butterscotch Budino Bread Pudding


What Is Butterscotch Budino Bread Pudding?


When you combine one great pudding with another great pudding, you get the Butterscotch Budino Bread Pudding. Not to be confused with Butterscotch Bread Pudding because the “budino” side of this dish is an important component when you consider the thicker consistency of Italian pudding when compared to American pudding. The dessert consists of bread soaked in butter, eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon – baked; then topped with a sweet and salty butterscotch budino drizzled with a light caramel sauce. Whether you serve it with ice cream or whipped cream (or both), it’s a win.

Where’d It Come From?

The Butterscotch Budino Bread Pudding unites the best of European desserts from England and Italy. Butterscotch budino first triggered my fancy at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles. After inhaling an Italian meatballs appetizer with garlic bread and a fennel sausage pizza, it seemed wrong to end dinner with a calorie count of less than 5000. And so I went for dessert. I wasn’t as big of a fan of the rosemary cookie on the side but the budino was heaven in a shot glass – creamy, sweet, salty and brilliant.

My love for bread pudding on the other hand cannot be traced. I order it every chance I get and I don’t know that I’ve ever had a bad bread pudding in my life. I loved them all equally, similar to my distribution of affection for my fur-children.

Origins of the Butterscotch Budino

Budino” is an Italian word that means pudding, but the concept of pudding goes back to Medieval times in England. Medieval puddings were savory and often served with sausages, meats and blood. The Italian rendition chose a sweeter path by replacing the proteins with nuts and cookies.

In the US, the budino made its first appearance in 1963. Published in a small California newspaper called the San Fernando Valley Living, the dessert was mentioned in an article which told the story of an event hosted by the Wine and Food Society of San Fernando Valley. This event featured courses from “foreign lands” that locals were not familiar with, which included the budino Maltais. The course was said to have originated from Malta, a small European island nation just off the southern coast of Italy.

The roots of butterscotch is a bit more murky. While most can agree that the “butter” part of the word refers to just that – butter, there is some debate over where the “scotch” piece comes from. Some say it is in reference to the birthplace of butterscotch (Scotland), while others believe it derived from the word “scorch” due to the burnt sugar flavor. Others still point to the meaning of “to cut or score” as the candy must be cut before hardening.


Origins of Bread Pudding

The origins of bread pudding go as far back as the early 11th century when creative, penny-wise cooks sought to find a use for their leftover, stale bread. Fast forward two centuries and bread pudding was popularized amongst lower classes and consequently became known in England as the “poor man’s pudding”.

Nowadays, bread pudding is anything but poor man’s food as it can be found in many trendy, upscale restaurants all over the world.


How’s It Made?

This is the perfect dessert for anyone who appreciates a salty touch on an otherwise sweet and rich course. The bread pudding is warm and gooey while the butterscotch budino is soft and creamy. Add a drizzle of caramel, whipped cream and touch of sea salt for the ultimate flavor combination. If you really want to go nuts, scoop a mound of ice cream on there, too!

Makes: 8 servings  | Passive prep time: 3 hours  | Active prep/cook time: 50 minutes


  • Butterscotch Budino:

    • 1 ½ cups heavy cream

    • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar

    • ¾ cup milk

    • 2 large egg yolks

    • 1 large egg

    • ¼ cup water

    • 1 tbs dark rum

    • 2 tbs cornstarch

    • ½ tsp sea salt

    • 2 tbs unsalted butter

  • Caramel Sauce:

    • 1 cup sugar

    • ¾ cup heavy cream

    • 2 tbs butter

    • ⅓ cup water

    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Bread Pudding

    • 6 slices of bread

    • 2 cups milk

    • ¾ cup sugar

    • 2 tbs unsalted butter

    • 2 tsp cinnamon

    • 2 tsp vanilla extract


Do Butterscotch Budino ahead of time:

  1. Reference the Butterscotch Budino ingredients. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix together brown sugar, salt, and water. Cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce is a very dark color.

  2. Slowly add in the cream and milk while whisking until combined. Bring sauce to a boil and bring heat down to medium.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolks and cornstarch.

  4. Take a cup of the caramel mixture from the saucepan and quickly whisk it into the egg mixture. Then pour and whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan.

  5. Up the heat to bring the mixture to a boil as you continue whisking until the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes).

  6. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the rum and butter.

  7. Use a fine strainer to strain and remove large lumps from mixture.

  8. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight).

Remaining recipe:

  1. Now reference the Bread Pudding ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Break bread into small pieces and place into a square 8x8 baking dish.

  3. Melt butter and drizzle over bread.

  4. In a mixing bowl, beat together remaining bread pudding ingredients. Pour over bread and use a fork to lightly push and submerge the bread in the egg mixture.

  5. Bake for 45 minutes

  6. While the bread pudding is baking, make the caramel sauce. Add sugar to the bottom of a saucepan and make sure there is a flat, even layer.

  7. Add water to fully soak the sugar.

  8. Heat on medium and cook until the sugar turns clear.

  9. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until caramel is a yellowish-orange color. If you like more of the burnt flavor of caramel, you can cook it until it’s a tad darker. Notice my caramel sauce was very light. It’s delicious either way!

  10. Turn heat off and add the heavy cream right away.

  11. Stir in butter until the sauce is smooth. Then stir in the vanilla extract.

  12. Allow caramel to cool to room temperature.

  13. Once bread pudding is done baking, remove it from the oven. Let it cool off slightly but serve while still warm with a large mound of butterscotch budino on top, a drizzle of caramel sauce, whipped cream and/or ice cream (optional) and a sprinkle of sea salt.