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Homemade Butterscotch Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream

Rinse a heavy medium saucepan with cold water and shake out the
excess (this helps prevent the milk from sticking). Add 2 cups of
the milk and bring to nearly a boil over moderate heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs yolks, brown sugar,
cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup milk until well blended.

Gradually pour 3/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture,
1/4 cup at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition. Return
this mixture to the remaining hot milk in the pan and cook over
moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the custard begins to
simmer and thicken slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat
and whisk in the butter and vanilla.

Strain the pudding into a bowl, scraping it from the bottom of the
sieve. Spoon the pudding into individual serving bowls or glass
sundae dishes. To avoid pudding "skin," lay a piece of waxed paper
or plastic wrap directly on the surface. Let cool on a wire rack
for 10 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 50 minutes. Serve
with a dollop of whipped cream.


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