The old fashioned vanilla pudding can seem like a lifesaver to some. This is because it's quick and easy to make. Most of all, it's quite delicious, making the recipe a real no-brainer. So how simple is it, really? Read on.

The most basic pudding

So the term "pudding" seems to be quite the broad one, but we're actually talking about some old fashion stuff here. So what is it exactly? Well, old fashion pudding happens to be yet another simple variation to custard, one of my all-time favorite desserts. I've already covered a great deal about custard and its variations here on Blasting News so I have you covered.

Like many custards recipes, this one's prepared in a saucepan or double boiler and starts with a simmered dairy or non-dairy base that's then combined with a thickening agent (whole eggs, yolks, cornstarch, tapioca or combined), some sweetener (sugar, syrup or honey), and flavored to your liking. Additionally, since it's a pudding, some butter is added to help enrich the mixture.

This recipe is for a vanilla-flavored pudding. Preferably, one that's rich and creamy to my liking. Instead of just using whole milk, I opted for half-and-half or I just add double cream to the milk in equal parts. For the thicking agents, I prefer to use just the yolks instead of the whole eggs for that extra richness and throw in some cornstarch for good measure.

The rest of the recipe is just sugar, butter and a tiny amount of salt.

The recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Combine the milk and vanilla extract into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer.
  2. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl using a small whisk or fork until well blended. Add the egg yolks and whisk together until it forms a wet, dough-like mixture.
  3. Pour a quarter of the heated milk onto the dough and whisk until it fully dissolves into a smooth mixture. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and whisk together with the heated milk until fully combined. Use a spoon to stir the mixture while it cooks until it becomes thick enough to coat its back and can only be removed with a swipe of a clean finger.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the butter and whisk until fully dissolved.
  5. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and seal with cling, making sure to gently press the center onto the surface of the pudding to prevent it from forming a skin when it cools. Leave to cool completely.
  6. Serve in bowls with a garnish of choice (whipped cream, fruit, cocoa, etc) or chill in a refrigerator for later use.

Serves: 4

Variations

  • Tapioca - Substitute tapioca for the cornstarch.
  • Chocolate - Substitute two tablespoons of natural cocoa powder for the vanilla extract.
  • Cinnamon - Substitute ground cinnamon for half of the vanilla extract.
  • Banana - Add one or two teaspoons of banana flavoring. Garnish with sliced bananas.
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