Pudding Pops for Grown-Ups

Along with stickerbooks, jelly shoes and Cabbage Patch Kids, JELLO Pudding Pops, and their spokesperson Bill Cosby, were two of my favourite things about growing up in the 80s.

The texture of a Pudding Pop is something I will always remember - smooth and creamy without the crystallization of a Fudgsicle (although let's get real - Fudgsicles are pretty friggin' awesome too!!).

I came across a recipe for Butterscotch Pudding Pops a couple of weeks ago on CHOW.com and thought I'd give them a whirl. The recipe gave me the chance to try some things I've never had before like Foxhill Cheese's gorgeous unhomogenized milk from the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market.

 

Also, I used gelatin for the first time... (don't worry - it's SUPPOSED to look like this)...

 

made a huge mess in my kitchen... (although that's not new!!)...

 

and used these really cool popsicle molds I bought at the Superstore for $7.

The intro to the recipe suggests adding a couple of tablespoons of Scotch to the recipe to punch up the flavour. Sean and I don't really drink, but we have a fully stocked liquor cabinet, including a barely touched bottle of Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch so I said what the hell?

They were perfect.

No really - these Pudding Pops were one of the most flavourful things I have made in a LONG time. I mean we could REALLY taste the Scotch but it added such an amazing depth to the taste I would never make them without!!

**A funny side note - I doubled the recipe thinking I would freeze half of the batter as Pudding Pops and turn the other half into ice cream but here's the thing. When you put homemade PUDDING batter into the fridge to chill, so you can turn it into ice cream, it actually turns into PUDDING. Man did I ever feel dumb when I peeled away the cling wrap and realized ice cream was NOT an option. It did make me laugh though!! (When I pulled the pudding out of the fridge it was delicious but at the same time, it was really lumpy, which I found visually unappealing. I did a little research as to WHY it was lumpy and so the recipe below is adjusted with the directions I will follow NEXT TIME to hopefully avoid those yucky lumps!!)

Butter-Scotch Pudding Pops

1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

4 Tbsp Butter - cut up

2 Cups Cold Half and Half (this is labelled 'Coffee Cream' on the shelves here, however, I just used half milk, half heavy cream and they turned out great)

2 teaspoons Unflavoured Gelatin

Candy Thermometer

3/4 teaspoon Vanilla

1/8 teaspoon Salt

2 Tbsp Scotch

~ Heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and bubbling - about 8 minutes - cool

~ Put 1/4 Cup of Half and Half into a small bowl - sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the cold cream - do not disturb 3 minutes - it will turn wrinkled and wavy right away

~ Add the gelatin-cream mixture, plus the remaining 1 3/4 Cups of cold cream to the cooled brown sugar mixture - turn heat to medium-low - as the cream heats, the brown sugar and butter will melt and the gelatin will dissolve - whisk until gelatin is no longer grainy (once heated through should take about 4 minutes) - do not heat above 170 degrees or the gelatin will not set

~ Remove from heat - strain through a fine mesh sieve - stir in vanilla, salt and Scotch - pour into popsicle molds and freeze OR for pudding, cover surface of batter with plastic cling and refrigerate 3 hours

After one hour in the freezer, I took my molds out and inserted large wooden popsicle sticks through the centre of each pop. Before I put the sticks in I wrote a message on each one with a Sharpie (U R SO Cool!! - Bite Me!! - Eat Me!! - Me Love You/Long Time - I Love Lamp - the last one is still in the freezer and I forget what I wrote on it!!). In my research I read that in order for Sharpie ink to be toxic to humans, you'd have to drink at LEAST an ounce. I've eaten three Pudding Pops in the last couple of days and I'm still alive.

These were easy to make and a truly nostalgic tribute to my amazing childhood. Sean and I agreed that the punch of liquor would make them a unique and interesting dessert to serve at a dinner party and so we'll probably do that soon. With the recipe for Vanilla Pudding Pops on the CHOW website, the flavour options would really only be limited by your imagination!!

ps - a huge thank you is in order to my awesome husband Sean for taking the shots of me devouring a Pudding Pop - it was very strange being on what I call the 'wrong side' of the camera but he managed to make me look good!!