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Vanilla Pudding

One evening this week I was strolling along the back of the grocery store, looking for some cheese. And I happened to glance at the six packs of chocolate pudding. And I promptly forgot about the cheese, and thought that pudding can’t be hard to make. So I went home and found a recipe for vanilla pudding on this web site. And it turns out pudding really isn’t that hard to make from scratch. The trick is to keep stirring. Don’t ever put that spoon, whisk or spatula down.

This is really, really good by itself (it reminds me of French vanilla ice cream, when it is still in the custard stage, before it’s frozen), but is also very tasty sprinkled with shaved chocolate, ground cinnamon, or fruit.

  • 2  2/3 cups milk (I used 2%, but whole milk would make it much richer)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I used ‘sugar in the raw’)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 large egg

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of milk to a boil (stir occasionally with a spatula so that it doesn’t scorch). Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla beans in a medium heatproof bowl. (To extract the vanilla, cut lengthwise and scrape out the beans with a knife. Add the empty bean pod to the heating milk for extra flavor). Slowly add in the remaining 2/3 cup milk to the bowl, stirring constantly. Whisk in the egg.

After the milk comes to a boil, remove the vanilla pod and pour the hot milk into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients very gradually, stirring the whole time with a whisk. Return the entire mixture to the sauce pan with the heat on medium, and (you guessed it!) stir constantly. After it comes to a simmer, cook for one additional minute to ensure the egg gets fully cooked (keep stirring). Remove the saucepan from the heat, pour into a bowl and cool at room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

makes about 3 cups

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