This chocolate budino with salted caramel is a creamy, rich chocolatey dessert topped with homemade caramel. Budino is an Italian style pudding made extra decadent with heavy cream and lots of egg yolks. This version includes lots of semisweet chocolate for that deep chocolate flavor. The icing on the cake is a thin layer of salted caramel drizzled on top. This is a restaurant-quality dessert but is easily made at home with my simple step by step directions!
I had my first budino experience at Barbuzzo in Philadelphia. Their rich salted caramel budino came with a layer of chocolate cookie crumbs on the bottom and more caramel on top. It was served in cute little mason jars and was love at first taste! I had to recreate my own version and wanted chocolate to be the star. This chocolate budino with salted caramel was the result and per my husband and neighbors who got to take the extras off my hands it was one of the best desserts they’ve had.
What is a budino?
Budino means pudding in Italian. It seems a little ambiguous as to the beginnings of this Italian dessert with some sources saying it started as a type of sausage and then somehow changed into a custard or pudding. Very weird, I know! I promise this budino couldn’t be further from sausage!
How is budino different than American pudding?
One of the typical trademarks of the pudding we know in America is that it is thickened with cornstarch. Some recipes contain egg yolks for a more custard like dessert and others just have different flavor additions like chocolate or vanilla with milk and cornstarch. A budino leans more toward a custard style dessert with egg yolks and doesn’t commonly have cornstarch added.
How to make budino
The budino starts with semisweet chocolate. To prep the chocolate for melting, finely chop it and place it into a bowl with a fine mesh sieve over the top. We will melt it later using the hot cream and egg yolk mixture you make next.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until creamy and fully combined.
Next, heat the heavy cream until it just begins to simmer. Pour the hot cream very slowly into the egg yolk mixture, whisking the entire time. I like to place the bowl with the egg yolks on a kitchen towel so it doesn’t move around on the counter since one hand will be pouring the hot cream and the other hand will be whisking continuously. You want to be sure to do this slowly and while whisking constantly so that the eggs don’t begin to scramble in the hot cream.
Once all the cream has been added to the eggs, return the mixture to the same saucepan. Cook the custard mixture on medium heat, stirring the entire saucepan constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. I like to take the spoon out and see if a line is left when I draw my finger through the custard on the spoon. This should take about 3 minutes or 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Pour the hot custard through the fine mesh sieve over the bowl of chopped chocolate to strain out any parts of cooked eggs that may have formed. Remove the strainer and stir the chocolate and custard until the chocolate is fully melted. Finally, add in the butter, vanilla and salt and stir until combined.
Divide the budino evenly into eight 6-8 oz ramekins or glass dishes and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the budinos for at least 4 hours.
How to make salted caramel
Making caramel can seem like a daunting task and I’ve definitely had my failures in making it in the past. Follow these steps and pictures below for a hopefully foolproof caramel!
Melting the sugar
Place the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar begins to melt after a few minutes, begin stirring it until it dissolves completely. The sugar will clump up as this is happening. Just keep stirring until all the clumps dissolve. It will also start to turn golden brown toward the end of the melting process.
It will take about 10-15 minutes to look like the picture above. From this point, keep a very close eye on it because as all the sugar finally melts, it will start to turn darker and more caramel colored. This happens very quickly and it can take the turn to burnt really quickly.
Adding the cream and butter
Once the caramel looks like the picture above, you are ready to add the other ingredients. It is very, very important that the heavy cream and butter be as close to room temperature as possible. If you are anything like me and forget to pull out the ingredients until right before you start the recipe, simple heat the heavy cream in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds to warm it up. Do the same with the butter, microwaving for about 10 seconds on half power.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, whisking constantly until it’s incorporated completely. I like the cube the butter into fairly small pieces to make this step faster and easier as it will melt more quickly.
Now that the butter is incorporated, add the room temperature cream and again stir quickly and continuously. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit which is why we use a large pan for this.
After the cream is fully incorporated and the bubbles recede, if small clumps of sugar remain, place the pan back onto the medium heat and stir for another couple minutes to melt those down.
Finally add in the salt and stir to combine. Allow the caramel to cool some before adding to the chocolate budino. That’s it! You just made caramel!
Storing the caramel
You’ll want to store any leftover caramel in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I like to use mason jars for this. The caramel will get thicker in the fridge so just microwave it for about 20-30 seconds to get it back to a pourable consistency. It will last refrigerated for 2-3 weeks.
Assembling the budino
To finish off the chocolate budino, once they have chilled for 4 hours, pour a thin layer of the salted caramel on top. You don’t need much because both the chocolate and the caramel are very rich!
Whip the heavy cream and tablespoon of powdered sugar together until soft peaks form. Dollop a scoop of whipped cream on top of the budino. If you want to be extra fancy, you can sprinkle a little extra sea salt on top! I like to use Maldon Sea Salt.
Storing the budino
The budinos will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. If not serving them all at once, wait to top with the whipped cream until ready to serve. They can be topped with the caramel ahead of time but it will get thicker in the refrigerator. If you prefer the caramel to be softer on top of the chocolate budino, wait to top with the caramel until serving as well.
For more decadent desserts, check out:
Tag me on Instagram @TaraKringlen if you make this and leave a review and comment below! Thanks and enjoy!
Chocolate Budino with Salted Caramel
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate bar finely chopped
- 2 ½ cups Heavy cream
- 5 Egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Heavy cream room temperature
- 4 tbsp unsalted Butter room temperature
- 2 tsp sea salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl with a fine mesh sieve over top.
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl until creamy and fully combined, about 1 minute.
- Heat the heavy cream over medium heat in a large saucepan until lightly simmering with small bubbles forming at the edge of the pan.
- Slowly pour the heavy cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly and scraping the edges, bottom and sides of the saucepan until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 3 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 175 degrees
- Pour the custard through the fine mesh sieve over the chocolate.
- Stir the custard into the chocolate until the chocolate is fully melted.
- Stir in vanilla, butter and salt until combined.
- Divide the budino evenly into 8, 6-8 oz ramekins filling about 2/3 full. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.
- Place sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar starts to dissolve, stir until it dissolves completely, 10-15 minutes.
- Once sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and cook over medium heat until the sugar turns a deep amber color, another 1-3 minutes. Don’t walk away during this step! It can burn very quickly if you aren’t paying attention.
- Remove the pan from the heat and Immediately add the cubed butter and whisk constantly until the butter is melted. It will bubble up.
- Slowly pour in the heavy cream while whisking constantly. Be careful as it will bubble up again. Continue whisking until the caramel is smooth. If clumps of sugar remain, place back over medium heat for a couple minutes to melt them completely.
- Add the salt and whisk until combined. Allow to cool slightly before pouring over top the chilled budino.
Assembling the budinos
- Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar in a stand mixer or use a hand mixer until soft peaks form.
- Pour a thin layer of the salted caramel on top of the chocolate budinos. You will have extra so store in the refrigerator in a covered container.
- Top each with a dollop of whipped cream. If desired, sprinkle with some sea salt.
- The salted caramel will get very thick in the refrigerator. Microwave it for 20-30 seconds to reach a pourable consistency.
- The budinos will last covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Wait to top with the whipped cream until just before serving.