Mise en place

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mise en place is a cooking term that refers to having all your ingredients in place, and carefully reading the recipe, prior to getting started.

Mise en place is a method that all the best cooks employ.  There’s nothing like moving seamlessly from one task to the next, knowing where to find the next ingredient you need. It’s the perfect way to stay organized in the kitchen and prepare a recipe without losing your mind.

I’ve yet to try it myself.

The first time I made these butterscotch puddings, I realized that everything kind of happened at once.  I thought, “Next time I make them, I really need to be organized before I get started.”

The second time I made these puddings, I thought exactly the same thing.  Except even more earnestly.

The recipe isn’t hard, but it’s fast-paced.  And more than worth the effort when you sit down to enjoy the buttery, scotch-infused warmth of a butterscotch pudding.

The key to a delicious pudding (other than organization, without which it clearly still works) is using a strong single-malt scotch.  This is the time to reach to the back of your cupboard and pull out that Laphroig that’s just a little too strong for your taste buds.  Or the Lagavulin that you save for the people who will really appreciate it.  If you don’t like scotch, buy a single malt and share it with a friend who does – like me!

Butterscotch Pudding

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 cup whole milk (first amount)
1/4 cup whole milk (second amount)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp scotch whisky (preferably a strong single malt)

Whipped cream for topping (optional)

Have six ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 1/2 to 3/4 cup, at hand.

Put the brown sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, put the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Stirring and lowering the heat if necessary, boil for 2 minutes.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk, and all the cream, and bring to a boil.  Don’t worry if, as it’s heating, the mixture curdles.

While the milk is heating, combine the cornstarch and salt in a small bowl.  In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks for 1 minute.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and beat just to blend.  Add the cornstarch mixture and beat just to blend.

With the beaters running, very slowly pour in the hot liquid.  Beat for a few seconds, then pour everything back into the saucepan.  Whisk without stopping over medium heat – making sure to get into the edges of the pan – until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles come to the surface and pop (about 2 minutes).  You don’t want the pudding to boil, but you do want it to thicken, so lower the heat if necessary.

Scrape the pudding back into the blender and beat a few seconds.  Add the butter, vanilla and scotch, and beat until everything is evenly blended.

Pour the pudding into the ramekins.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Top with whipped cream, if you like.

42 comments:

Barbara said...

Lovely pudding, Beth. I do TRY to get everything in place, but it doesn't happen often. :)

Valerie said...

I need to make this again, Dorie's butterscotch pudding is one of the best! (Unlike mine, yours looks so smooth!)

Organization is over-rated. I find it much more exciting to panic at the very last minute, whilst looking for some errant ingredient. ;-)

Belinda said...

I try and try...doesn't ALWAYS work, but makes the process far less stressful! Gorgeous pudding - I mean, can butterscotch be bad?

Natalie Aguirre said...

The pudding sounds delicious. I try to have everything out before I start once in awhile. I'm like you. I need to try doing that.

Ellen B Cookery said...

What a lovely pudding! A great rule to live by...mise en place!

Carol said...

It really is a great rule, but kitchen chaos works for me most of the time :) Your butterscotch pudding looks amazing!

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Bonnie said...

Oh Beth, I wish I were so organized. I do read the recipe through...most of the time. I probably would end up with so many more successes. I love butterscotch and I have been known to enjoy a scotch now and again.

Thanks for you comment. I'm around, just being a bit lazy I am afraid. Bonnie

Jess said...

Yummy! I've done dishes before where I prepare everything and put it in measured bowls and grind/measure my spices ahead of time (basically acting as my own sous chef). It definitely makes a difference and looks pretty and organized on the counter. That said, I don't do that very often. It comes in handy more for dinners where I have lots of chopped items that are time sensitive for adding to a pan :) No scotch in the house, but I'm sure the hubby would love an excuse to get some!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yummy!

I have to try this technique some time. Nothing worse than discovering half way through the recipe that you're missing an important ingredient. That has happened to many times to me. You'd think I'd know better by now. :D

Kitchen Riffs said...

I've actually gotten much better at mise en place - sometimes. ;-) Usually I want to just jump in and start cooking. And sometimes - when I'm late, hungry, and rushing to get something on the table ASAP - it's not practical to even think about mise en place. But things do go smoother whenever I do it, and I find it's a must for cooking Chinese. Anyway, nice recipe. I love butterscotch and it's a terrific flavor in pudding. Unfortunately most of my childhood memories of butterscotch pudding are the packaged kind - not good at all. This looks wonderful, though. Thank you.

Julie said...

I try to mise en place...sometimes I am better than others. I almost always try it when baking. Savory cooking is so much more forgiving, not like when I use 2T of something instead of 2t in baking. I love butterscotoch pudding and had no idea it had scotch in it. Can't wait to try this!

Jenn Kendall said...

i've somehow never had butterscotch pudding, i think that definitely needs to change! yours looks delicious!

Rosemary said...

I've seen people do it, getting everything out. My mom tried to teach me. I taught my own daughter. But I can't cure myself! I love the idea of scotch in the butterscotch. Of course!

Guru Uru said...

Your pudding looks absolutely beautiful my friend - and thanks for teaching me a new term :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Neesie said...

A great pudding recipe Beth. Butterscotch ~ yumm!
I seem to have evolved the Mise en place method...but not intentionally. I think it all started when I first cooked fried rice and at the start put everything into little bowls. It's great to just reach for each bowl as and when it's needed.
I'm currently teaching my son how to cook using a few simple recipes...you know a student survival cooking course kind of thing and it helps him see clearly what's involved.
Thanks for sharing. ;D

profiterolesandponytails said...

Now I'm wondering if "butterscotch" owes it origins to scotch in the pudding? This recipe really inspires me to make it ...although I'll leave out the scotch for the girls. Despite my best intentions, I rarely have everything all set to go either. :)

Food Gal said...

The best butterscotch pudding always has a little real scotch in it. Yours looks absolutely delectable.

Angie's Recipes said...

I have never had a butterscotch pudding, let alone made one. Yours looks mouthwatering!

shaz said...

Oh my goodness, I don't usually go for puddings but these sound amazing! Especially with the scotch in it :)

Cathleen said...

I have never made a pudding before, but I really want to now!
I have never heard this term before. I sometimes do it, sometimes..not so careful reading is done :P

artofnaturalliving.com said...

I started doing "mise en place" this year when blogging made me get more efficient in the kitchen. Never knew it had a name--how cool!

Asmita said...

Wo, this looks amazing! Never tried butterscotch pudding but wish I could now.

yummychunklet said...

More power to those who can do it, but I can't get the hang of mise en place. I seem to use so many dishes that way.

Joanne said...

One day, I'll learn to read recipes before I start them also! And prepping beforehand, too. :) And when that day comes, I shall attempt this pudding. Hopefully it will be soon...because they look delicious!

Claire Davis said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds so good and rich. Have yet to master mise en place myself! It sounds so efficient though, I need to attempt it more in my cooking.

Cindy said...

Mise en place is really the best way to cook/bake. When I do it I'm so proud of myself. When I don't I wish I had.
The pudding looks yummy.

Pacheco Patty said...

I could always be more organized, in fact I spend a lot of time trying to organize myself! Butterscotch pudding is a favorite with me and having recently visited Scotland- single malt scotch is still fresh in my mind!

Lizzy said...

I need to practice mise en place more often, too. Sometimes I do; sometimes I don't. Either with or without, your pudding looks outstanding. And you've reminded me to look for some Lagavulin to take to my parents when we visit in a couple weeks...my dad would be thrilled :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I tried my hand at mise en place ages ago when I was using cookbooks. I'd always mess up somehow.

I don't think I've ever eaten butterscotch pudding. I should since I love butterscotch.

artofnaturalliving.com said...

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Cucina49 said...

I really try to work on my mise en place--it doesn't generally happen! I love butterscotch pudding and haven't had it in ages, so this post is a nice reminder.

grace said...

stick that in a pie shell and mound it with more whipped cream, and you've made my ideal dessert!

Gina Gao said...

This looks amazing! I'll certainly try this.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Miriam said...

The pudding sounds lovely...and some of the very best meals just happen to get thrown together without much preparation :)
Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Angela said...

I was starting to feel bad about myself for not being more prepared until I got to the line "I've yet to try it myself!" Lol - thank you for making me smile. This pudding sounds awesome. Butterscotch pudding from scratch is something I had never thought of.

Raina said...

This post made me smile. I always say that I am going to get everything ready ahead of time too but somehow never do..lol. The pudding sounds wonderful:)

Ruth said...

I actually LOL'd at this post. :)

Kathy said...

I tend not to be prepared for fast moving cooking…I always tell myself to put everything out ahead, but I seldom do!! Your pudding looks lovely…I so enjoy butterscotch anything!

Lynn said...

This does look good. Maybe instead of the Scotch I could use up some of those jars of peach-brandy or the homemade khalua? Must stop trying weird fruit-infused booze recipes.

CJ - Food Stories said...

You totally wrote this post for me, didn't you? I always tell myself to read through the whole recipe, get everything out and then proceed. Once again, today, I didn't follow my own instructions. Right in the middle of the recipe, I realized I made a mistake ... because I didn't read & prep :-)

nancy at good food matters said...

Butterscotch pudding is a long time favorite, and yet I haven't made it for years. Though fast-paced, this looks like a marvelous recipe. Thanks!

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