Pizzeria Locale's surprise bestseller -- budino!

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Whoever would've guessed that Pizzeria Locale's Neapolitan pie might get upstaged by ... pudding? The butterscotch budino layered with chocolate ganache, caramel and whipped cream has surprised even co-owner Lachlan Patterson by how well it's selling at the Denver outpost, which I review this week, especially since it's not visible from the line. (Unlike desserts at many fast-casuals, which are placed as an impulse buy at the register, budino must be kept out of sight in the fridge.) See also: Photos from behind the scenes at Pizzeria Locale

Part of the temptation may be the size: While the budino at the original Pizzeria Locale in Boulder is offered in a six-ounce portion, Denver's budino comes in two-ounce servings. And at just $1.50 per shotglass-sized container, the dessert seems almost free of both sinful calories and cost.

Earlier this week, the New York Times published Pizzeria Locale's budino recipe, so I could suppose I could make it myself. But while I don't mind whisking (and there's lots of it in this recipe), I'd rather leave the candy thermometer at the back of the drawer and let the crew at 550 Broadway do the work.

Because if I make it at home, who's going to make the mais pizza?

Here's the New York Times's take on the dessert:

Chocolate pudding variations abound on dessert menus -- pots de crème, flan, budino -- as does anything containing the formerly exotic dulce de leche. But cozy, old-fashioned butterscotch pudding still remains largely in the home cook's domain.

A happy exception is Pizzeria Locale in Denver, where shot-glass-size portions to spoon up after your bespoke pizza are the only dessert on offer. And they are all you need: creamy and light in texture, profoundly caramelized in flavor, with a dense milk chocolate ganache blanketing the top, they are hugely satisfying for their minuscule size.

While most butterscotch pudding recipes rely simply on dark brown sugar for their flavor, Pizzeria Locale adds an intense, nutty character by caramelizing the brown sugar first. Beyond a little salt, there is no other flavor added to distract from the caramel - no vanilla, no alcohol, no spice. They are not missed.

Find the full budino recipe here.

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