This delightful recipe is from the book The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings by Anna Watson Carl.

From Anna: "As a kid, butterscotch pudding (made from the powdered Jello packet) was one of my favorite desserts. I love the creaminess, and the caramel flavor. So I decided to create an "adult" version from scratch, with a splash of Kahlúa, a dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkling of spicy pecans. "

Anna Watson Carl is a NYC-based food writer and private chef, and the creator of The Yellow Table blog. She has worked in the test kitchens of Martha Stewart Everyday FoodReal Simple, and Bon Appétit, and writes for a variety of magazines, including Food & WineWSJ MagazineTravel + Leisure, and AnthologyThe Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings is Anna's first book. Visit her online at

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Makes 6

Spicy Pecans:

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup pecan halves

Fine sea salt


Kahlúa-Butterscotch Puddings:

2 1/2 cups whole milk

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Kahlúa (or other coffee-flavored liqueur)


Whipped Cream:

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. For the Spicy Pecans: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to combine. Add the pecans and stir to combine. Spread the nuts out onto the foil-lined baking sheet, season to taste with sea salt, and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and beginning to crisp, 10-15 minutes. Cool on a rack until crisp and room temperature; roughly chop. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  3. For the Kahlúa-Butterscotch Puddings: In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat; remove from the heat.
  4. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the brown sugar, increase the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden brown and nutty smelling, 4-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the mixture, as it can easily burn! Remove from the heat and very slowly pour the sugar mixture into the warm milk, whisking constantly. (If the mixture is clumpy, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer, pushing down on the solids with a spatula.)
  5. Place the egg yolks in a heatproof medium bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the milk mixture, then add the cornstarch and salt and whisk until dissolved. Pour in the remaining hot milk mixture, place over medium-high heat, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, 3-4 minutes. (You’ll know it’s ready when the whisk leaves a trail through the pudding.) Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and Kahlúa. Divide evenly among 6 small custard cups or ramekins. Place a piece of plastic wrap over each custard cup or ramekin, pressing it lightly onto the surface of the pudding, and chill overnight.
  6. For the whipped cream: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat until medium peaks form, 2-3 minutes.
  7. To serve, remove the plastic wrap from the puddings then dollop each with whipped cream and sprinkle with spicy pecans. I like to put a small bowl of pecans on the table in case people want to add more—they’re really good!


Keep in mind that this dish needs to chill overnight, so plan accordingly.

This delightful recipe is from the book The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings by Anna Watson Carl
Photography by Headshot photo credit: Nate Poekert & Recipe photo credit: Signe Birck

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