Skip to content

Making Real Pudding is Real Easy

October 21, 2012

Meeting people who enjoy food but don’t cook is always thrilling. Getting someone who doesn’t much care about what they eat to actually cook something is next to impossible. But for those who actually taste what they put in their mouths, cooking provides an opportunity for them to get more pleasure from their meals.

People take short cuts. I get that. And there are some things that taste better made by professionals than home cooks. I’m not advocating that anyone make their own ketchup.

But things like tomato sauce, popcorn, and hot cocoa are no brainers. Albany Jane has inspired me to make my own orecchiette, but there are some great dried Italian pastas you can buy. Pop over to The Cheese Traveler, and they’ll tell you what makes the ones at the store so special.

Recently my new buddy Innae was tweeting that she bought some instant pudding. Now Innae loves food, and she was totally open to the idea of making her own pudding from scratch.

So to get her a recipe, I turned to a professional.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the chocolate pudding tartlets at All Good Bakers. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve seen them at the new location. But these were something special. Chocolate pudding in a buttery pie crust shell and topped with freshly whipped cream from one of our small local dairies.

At their heart they were chocolate pudding. So I asked Britin if she would be inclined to share the recipe. Agreeing, she pulled down a beloved and tattered family cookbook from the early 1960s that is held together with tape. It may not share the guiding principles of the restaurant in which it now resides, but it’s a great resource for classic American dishes. Like pudding.

Here are the ingredients:
⅔ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here is what you do with them:
1. Combine the sugar, salt and cornstarch in a saucepan.
2. Over medium heat gradually add milk, then chocolate.
3. Stir constantly until the liquid comes to a boil.
4. Let it boil for one minute longer.
5. Add a little of the hot milk mixture to the beaten egg.
6. Then whisk the warmed egg into the saucepan.
7. Cook, stirring constantly until it thickens.
8. Off heat add butter and vanilla.
9. If desired, beat with a hand mixer to make it extra smooth
10. Cool slightly and spoon into serving dishes.

It’s pretty much a one pot deal. You just need the saucepan and a bowl for beating the egg. Plus in the fall and winter this is a great excuse to stand over a simmering pot of something warm and delicious. Is it more work than just adding milk to a pre packaged powder? Most definitely. But that powder isn’t magic, it’s a feat of engineering. For comparison, here’s what’s in Jell-O’s instant chocolate flavored pudding:

Sugar, Modified Cornstarch, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Disodium Phosphate (for Thickening), Contains Less than 2% of Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (for Thickening), Mono- and Diglycerides (Prevent Foaming), Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Artificial Color, BHA (Preservative).

Fundamentally it’s the same thing, just without the non-cornstarch thickeners, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Plus you can use really great chocolate if you like, or simply call upon bakers chocolate as the original recipe suggested.

Good luck Innae. I know that I still owe WrigsMac a recipe for minute steaks, that’s coming. I have not forgotten. I also still need to send Sabre her package of bacon things for winning the post BaconFest giveaway. I’m really behind on a lot of things. Thank you all for your patience as I get through the backlog.

I’m going to blame all the Tournament of Pizza judging. But soon we’ll have a winner, and hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on a bunch of loose ends.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2012 11:36 am

    That’s honestly not that much harder. If I actually have to get a pot out and boil something, anyway, why not just do it the right way? My idea of “instant” is takeout on speed dial … :)

  2. Laura permalink
    October 22, 2012 1:54 am

    Pudding is on the list of things to teach my 16-year-old daughter to make. She recently admonished me for not teaching her how to cook so we are planning a weekly cooking lesson. So far I’ve come up with pizza dough, pudding, quick breads and ginger ale. I’ve never made ginger ale, but have wanted to try for a while. I’m looking for suggestions! Our first and only lesson so far was chicken tenders from scratch, which turned out great.

    On a side note, what ever happened to 4-H? That is such a great organization that should make a comeback.

    • kerosena permalink
      October 23, 2012 11:31 am

      Some suggestions: soup, marinara, roasted chicken or roast beef with side dishes, bread, some sort of sautéed dish with a pan sauce, stir fry, beans and greens, full breakfast, her own favorite meal, baked macaroni and cheese, chocolate cake.

      • Laura permalink
        October 23, 2012 11:37 am

        Great suggestions! They cover a lot of techniques. I see roasted chicken with a follow up soup on the horizon.

  3. October 22, 2012 3:59 pm

    I am definitely going to give this a shot on my day off this week. I can’t wait to stir over a hot pot of chocolatey goodness. Any recommendations on the type of unsweetened chocolate?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: