Butterscotch Budino Ice Cream

butterscotch budino ice cream sandwiches

This is what happened. My husband, who dislikes butterscotch, went out of town. I took the opportunity to make butterscotch budino, a dessert I discovered at Pizzeria Mozza several years ago, one that (along with the pizza) inspired many a 70-mile drive up to LA despite the inevitable, incessant, insane traffic.

I made the New York Times recipe (adapted from Pizzeria Mozza), which I discovered (too far along in the process to turn back) yields enough budino for a small village. My husband was only out of town for one night. I’m not sure what I was thinking.

After four too many budinos, I needed to take action. I couldn’t toss such a delicious creation, but eating it at the rate that I was seemed excessive. To prevent myself from assuming the role of small village, I dumped the remaining budino into my Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment and let it churn.

Never has such an intervention been more rewarding. I’ve never tasted salted caramel ice cream, but I’m pretty sure this is exactly how it would taste. And it is absurdly delicious. Budino, in its new frozen carnation, prevented me from becoming a small village, but only for one day. The ice cream disappeared from my freezer as quickly as the budino had from my fridge. And the recipe was revisited shortly thereafter, the new batch made with a few adjustments, namely without butter — I mean, butter in ice cream, as delicious as it was, is kind of gross.

The new butterless batch was just as, if not more so, delicious. I don’t know if it’s the relatively high amount of cornstarch or the presence of rum, but there’s something about this custard that produces the nicest textured ice cream. I made a third batch, too, and decided, just for kicks, to make ice cream sandwiches with about half of the batch. The cookies, made from a Fine Cooking recipe, taste just like the soft chocolate cookies flanking classic ice cream sandwiches. I have a feeling I’ll be making them all summer long.

Finally, Commenters, five of you — Trish, Kamilla, Elisa, Judy, and Dorothea — will receive a bag of Tipo 00 flour. With the exception of my friend Bates, who foremost deserves a bag, I used a random generator. I have emailed you. Wish I could send you each a bag.

ice cream maker

butterscotch budino ice cream

My aunt sent me these Everything Clips in the mail a few weeks ago. They are awesome for everything, but especially for securing parchment paper to pans:
pan clipped with parchment

batter spread in pan

baked batter

soft chocolate cookie, ready to be cut

cookie cut in half

fluted cutters

cutting cookies

cookie rounds ready for ice cream

sandwiches, ready to be topped

Butterscotch Budino Ice Cream
Adapted from the butterscotch budino recipe served at Pizzeria Mozza

If you just want to make butterscotch budino (versus the ice cream) follow this recipe.

for the custard:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk (I used whole)
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon rum

1. Combine cream and milk in bowl or pitcher, set aside. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch (read note in next sentence first) in medium bowl, set aside. Note: There has to be a better way to whisk egg yolks and cornstarch than what I have been doing, which causes the yolks to clump all around the whisk. This is what I’ll do next time: Crack yolks into bowl. Spoon a little bit of the cornstarch into the yolks. Stir with a spoon until incorporated, then add more cornstarch and continue this process until all of the cornstarch has been added.

2. Combine brown sugar, kosher salt and 1/4 cup water in pot. Place over medium-high heat and let sit until edges start to brown. Tilt pot as needed to even the browning until caramelized, nutty and deep brown, about 10 minutes. Notes: The mixture should be bubbling (not crazily, however) the whole time, so adjust heat as necessary. Do set a timer. It’s hard to tell visually when the mixture is ready, but every time that I’ve made this, 10 minutes seemed to be the magic number.

3. Immediately whisk in cream mixture, mixture will steam and caramel will seize. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Whisk a cup at a time into egg mixture until half is incorporated. Remove from heat, and immediately whisk egg mixture back into pot until custard is very thick, about 2 minutes.

4. Whisk in rum. Pass through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to a storage container (preferably glass or pyrex). Cover with plastic wrap, allow to cool, and refrigerate until completely chilled, the longer the better.

5. Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and freeze according to your machine’s instructions. Freeze until ready to serve.

for the ice cream sandwich cookies:

I followed the recipe on Fine Cooking for the cookie recipe.

I used my 2.5-inch round fluted cutter to make individual sandwiches, which is fun, but also wasteful. If you go this route, you’ll get about 12 sandwiches per batch of cookie recipe. What is nice about this method is that the ice cream doesn’t have to be too soft — mine was a little too soft, in fact — in order to start the assembly process. If your ice cream is scoopable, you are good to go. Also, I froze my scraps from the cutting process. These could be crumbled up and sprinkled onto the sides of a cake or toasted and crumbled onto ice cream or … I’m sure you have some good ideas? Again, what isn’t nice about this method is the waste as well as the extra steps cutting/scooping/etc. Next time, I think I’ll stick to the traditional method. Also, the flavor of the butterscotch budino ice cream I found got a little masked by the cookie. Next time, too, I would choose a different flavor ice cream, probably vanilla, to use for the sandwiches. I’m thinking the best vessel for the butterscotch budino ice cream might be a thin chocolate wafer cookie bowl or something of the like? Will report back if I discover something.

ice cream sandwiches

Straining the custard after it thickens is important — it removes all of those curdled little bits.
straining the custard


  1. says

    Ali, yum! I’d have to make these when Rob was away, too, as butterscotch is on his list of “dislikes”, but I am sure I’ll have an opportunity. Also, I was looking for an ice cream sandwich “sandwich” recipe – thanks! Love the first photo with the dripping ice cream. Did Ella enjoy one of these?

    • says

      Darcy — what is up with our men? Ella did enjoy a sandwich. I had cut it up into pieces for her, and she ate all of the cookie pieces first, and then needed me to spoon the melting ice cream into her mouth. She is such a rascal.

  2. Elsie says

    Why not make a slurry of the cornstarch and a bit of the milk instead of trying to mix it in with the egg yolks?

  3. Liz says

    Superb entry. Those photos are tantalizing. This will make such a fine finale for a summer, dinner-on-the-porch, lawn, terrace, grass, stoop event. Thank you, Alexandra.

  4. says

    How imperative is the rum? I’m not a lover of the flavor of rum…. Unlike your husband, I love butterscotch, but I’ve never made it before, so perhaps it’s integral and I’ve just never know it?

    • says

      Christine — the rum is such a subtle flavor, so honestly, I think you could probably leave it out. Now, I don’t know much about the science of ice cream making, but I have a recipe for pumpkin ice cream that calls for a tablespoon of Bourbon, and that ice cream too has a wonderful texture. I wonder if the alcohol helps keep the texture sort of soft? You could always add a teaspoon of rum to the custard, stir it in, taste the custard, then add another if it’s not too overpowering for you. I barely can detect a rum taste, but adding it by the teaspoon might be a good idea anyway.

  5. Sana says

    I am not a fan of butterscotch either, but the way you described tand the photos make my mouth water.
    The oly sad thing is I have no ice cream maker:(.

  6. says

    Oh. My. Stars.


    I am a butterscotch fiend. So much so that I have a bunch of vanilla beans steeping in butterscotch schnapps for butterscotch-vanilla extract right now.

    I had never heard of budino before this post. Mind. Blown. And hello, RUM!

    If I gain a hundred pounds this summer because of this ice cream, well… that’s probably what’s going to happen.

    The Cuisinart ice cream insert is going in the freezer… I’m doomed.

    It’s all your fault… (Thank you!)

    • says

      Whitney you are hilarious. Your butterscotch Schnapps vanilla sounds amazing! You have a little factory going on in your kitchen :) I am so excited to try out my homemade vanilla I cannot tell you. My bottles from Uline arrived, and they are currently in the dishwasher. I am so prepared for Xmas it’s not even funny.

  7. says

    Great idea for the extra budino! The first time I made it from the NY Times recipe it was for a dinner party and I got sick and never had the party and had 10 servings of the budino on the fridge!!! WIsh I had been as creative as you!

    • says

      Janie oh no! Isn’t that the worst? And when you’re sick, the last thing you want to look at is food, things like budino in particular. I hope your sickness didn’t turn you off budino forever :)

  8. says

    Wow, that ice-cream! Those chocolate cookies… I really, REALLY need a snack now! I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday series (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and it’s so much fun following your creations…

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