The dessert that I hounded my mother for the most when I was a kid wasn't chocolate chip cookies or cake or even ice cream -- it was butterscotch pudding. The kind out of the box that took two minutes to make. Five-year-old me thought this was the absolute best thing on the face of the earth. So whenever I see butterscotch pudding on a menu, five-year-old me speaks up and has to order the golden brown, buttery dessert.
Which brings us to this week's battle. We found two Valley restaurants, Baratin and Frank & Albert's, that each have this childhood treat on their menus and we just couldn't resist eating them both.
So who makes a better butterscotch pudding? Let's find out!
In This Corner: Baratin
The Set Up: The baby sister of Scottsdale's FnB, this tiny art deco cafe features an everchanging menu of sandwiches and veggies created by Chef Charleen Badman. The one constant on the menu is dessert -- a small jar of butterscotch pudding.
The Good: Chef Charleen Badman puts a sophisticated spin on this classic dessert with browned butter and caramelized sugar flavors bursting out of a tiny Weck jelly jar. Fresh whipped cream on top adds a lightness to the thick custard and a dusting of fresh grated nutmeg ties the whole things together.
The Bad: There is very little wrong with this near-perfect dessert but for the sake of an argument, sometimes the pudding can be a little on the gritty side. We actually like the texture but we're sure there are others out there that may be turned off by this.
In The Other Corner: Frank & Albert's at The Biltmore
The Set Up: One of two restaurants at Phoenix's Biltmore resort, Frank & Albert's offers semi-casual dining in an upscale environment. The Frank Loyd Wright-inspired restaurant features cozy booths, friendly service, and a decadent menu of southwestern comfort foods and vintage inspired plates. The dessert menu is full of classics like S'mores, peanut butter cup pie, and, butterscotch pudding.
The Good: Five-year-old me would have been stoked on this dessert. The super sweet, smooth custard arrived at my table with the unmistakable smell of classic butterscotch. The dessert was layered with warm salted caramel sauce and then topped with soft butterscotch chips and had two little sugar cookies on the side. The custard had a nice texture and it tasted just like the stuff my mom used to make but a little less artificial.
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The Bad: Custard? Awesome. Caramel sauce? Pretty good? Cookies on the side? We didn't really need them. Butterscotch chips? Get rid of 'em. why in the world would you put butterscotch chips on a top of this already super sweet dessert? They seemed to cheapen the dessert and were a completely unnecessary addition.
The Verdict: Baratin scores the win in this pudding battle.
While child in me loved the Frank & Albert's super sweet pudding, those butterscotch chips really ruin it for me. The sophisticated flavors and thick texture of Charleen Badman's version of the classic dessert appealed to semi-grown up palate and kept my sweet tooth happy at the same time.