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Vanilla Pudding Recipe & Video

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Sometimes all we need is a bowl of creamy smooth Vanilla Pudding. It is amazing how you can take everyday ingredients like milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla, and transform them into a dessert that tastes so good. It is easy to make, and your can eat it hot, at room temperature, or even cold. It looks so enticing when served in pretty bowls with a dollop of softly whipped cream and maybe a sprinkling of toasted and chopped walnuts. 

When you make Vanilla Pudding what you are really doing is making a 'cooked' custard. The difference between a pudding and a custard is that a pudding contains cornstarch (corn flour). Cornstarch is used to make the pudding thick enough to eat with a spoon. Puddings have to be cooked carefully to prevent lumps. So keep the heat fairly low and use a heavy bottomed saucepan, making sure that you stir constantly with a large heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon. When stirring it is important to reach the bottom, sides and corners of the saucepan to prevent the pudding from sticking and scorching. Once the pudding has become thick, like mayonnaise, remove it from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Then strain the pudding to get rid of any lumps that may have formed. If you like your vanilla pudding warm, then by all means eat it right away. But if you like your pudding cold, simply press plastic wrap onto the surface of the puddings and refrigerate until firm (a couple of hours). For those who like a skin (film) on the top of their pudding, let the pudding cool uncovered and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Try to use good quality ingredients when making a Vanilla Pudding. So, if possible, use "organic" milk and eggs from vegetarian fed hens. And since vanilla is the prominent flavor in this vanilla pudding it is important to use a good vanilla extract. The first thing to do is to make sure that it is labeled "pure".  Stay away from the ones labeled "imitation" vanilla extracts as they are made with synthetic vanilla (from glycoside found in the sapwood of certain conifers or from coal extracts) and leave a bitter aftertaste. Also, products labeled 'Vanilla Flavoring' are a combination of pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract and should be avoided. Although pure vanilla extract is what I normally use to make vanilla pudding, some may prefer using one whole vanilla bean. This will give the pudding an excellent vanilla flavor and it will also add those lovely small dark seeds. To use the bean; cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Add this, along with the pod, to your milk when you are bringing it to a boil. The pod can then be removed, rinsed, dried, and placed in some granulated white sugar to produce what is called vanilla sugar. Besides using vanilla extract or a vanilla bean, you can also use a product called vanilla bean paste. This paste contains vanilla seeds so your pudding will have those lovely little black seeds in it, like you get when using a vanilla bean, only there is no work involved.

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Vanilla Pudding: In a large stainless steel (or heatproof) bowl whisk together 1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar, cornstarch, salt, eggs, and egg yolk. Whisk in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the milk. Set aside while you heat the rest of the milk and sugar. Have ready a fine medium-sized strainer and bowl as you will need to strain the pudding after it is cooked.

First, rinse a medium-sized heavy saucepan with cold water and then shake out the excess water. (Doing this step prevents the milk from scorching.) Then pour the remaining 3 cups (720 ml) of milk, along with the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar, into the saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pudding mixture to a clean, large heavy bottomed saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. If necessary, pour through the strainer to remove any lumps that may have formed during cooking.

Pour the pudding into six or eight serving dishes, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled, about two hours.

Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature with a large dollop of softly whipped cream and chopped nuts.

Note: To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool then chop coarsely.

Makes 6 - 8 servings. Preparation time 45 minutes.

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Vanilla Pudding Recipe:

3 1/2 cups (840 ml) whole milk (organic, if possible)

1/3 cup (65 grams) plus 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter


Lightly sweetened whipped cream and chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)




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