Vanilla Bean Pudding

Leave it to Deb from Smitten Kitchen to keep it simple: milk, sugar, cornstarch and an egg are all you need to get you started on the path to homemade pudding paradise.

When I was growing up my family would frequently host relatives visiting from the Dominican Republic, and my aunts and uncles would always be sure to bring with them a pile of traditional goodies. Among the treasures were queso de hoja (a wonderful, tangy white cheese), Double Bubble gum, these little green mints called Cristal Menta, all kinds of traditional confections, and, of course Maizena. Maizena is a brand of cornstarch popular abroad, and what I remember most were these little packets filled with differently flavored starches — strawberry was my favorite — to which you could add warm milk and create what I have since come to recognize as pudding. The recipe I made today, which is a real “back to the basics” kind of recipe, took me back to those times, and you know, come to think of it it’s not so surprising. To my mind, pudding and childhood go hand in hand.

Vanilla beans, by the way — they are somethin’ else. I am completely sold on using them whenever possible in place of extract. 

Vanilla Bean Pudding
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: Six 1/2 cup servings

2 2/3 cups skim milk, divided
1/3 or 1/2 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you’d like it
3 Tablespoons or 1/4 cup corn starch, depending on how firm you’d like it
1/4 teaspoon salt
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (yum!) or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg

1. Set 2 cups of milk over medium heat to boil. 
2. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, vanilla bean seeds (unless using extract… hold on for that). Feel free to throw the vanilla bean pod into the heating milk for added flavor. 
3. Slowly whisk in 2/3 cup milk a bit at a time in order to avoid lumps. 
4. Whisk in the egg.
5. Once milk has boiled, remove vanilla bean pod and slowly whisk milk into the bowl of mixed ingredients.
6. Return the mixture to the original saucepan, and bring back to a simmer while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula. 
7. Once it’s simmering, cook for one more minute to ensure fully cooked egg and cornstarch. Don’t jump the gun and take it off the heat before it thickens, though!
8. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract if you are using it in place of the beans.
9. Divide into small bowls (I ended up being generous and using just 4 lil bowls), and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.
10. Enjoy warm pudding goodness from the bottom of the saucepan to hold you over until you can get your hands on the cool pudding!

I love those flecks of vanilla bean!
This entry was published on November 11, 2011 at 2:34 am and is filed under dessert. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Vanilla Bean Pudding

  1. mmm almost lookes like vanilla bean ice cream 😉

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