Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or Scotch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Crème fraîche and crushed gingersnap cookies (for serving; optional)
- Eight 6-ounce ramekins or bowls
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter begins to brown and smell nutty, about 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is starting to dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add cream, milk, bourbon, and salt; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually add hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Wipe out saucepan. Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until custard bubbles occasionally and starts to thicken, 5-6 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat and transfer mixture to a blender. Blend briefly on low speed until smooth. Place ramekins or bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide custard evenly among ramekins and chill until set, at least 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Puddings can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Top each pudding with crème fraîche and crushed gingersnaps, if desired.