While I baked the aforementioned Grapefruit Yogurt Cake, I decided that I had to make the Vanilla Bean Pudding that I came across on the same website. I'd been thinking about it for a whole week, and I had a full gallon of milk in the fridge beckoning for me to use it.
There's lots of things that used to make me nervous about making homemade pudding. I would be afraid that I'll make a mess by pouring heated milk from a pan to bowl (since I don't have a saucepan with a spout); I might cook the eggs by not adding hot milk gradually enough; or I wouldn't stir the pudding enough on the stove as it thickens and end up with lumpy pudding. I'm still a little afraid that I'm going to scorch the milk. And, sometimes things spill. All in all, though, these are avoidable problems.
I know that I've just told you all the problems you might have when you make pudding, but homemade pudding really isn't that hard to make. The process does take a little getting used to.
I've made homemade pudding before, and this was a pretty simple pudding to make. There are some notable things that I really like about it. While you heat the majority of your milk (and I tossed a vanilla bean in it), you combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt (and vanilla seeds) in a bowl. You whisk the remaining milk (that you're not heating) into the sugar mixture, and whisk your egg into that. Once the milk is hot enough, you gradually add it to the mixture in the bowl. This process worked amazingly well for me, and I can see myself doing that often.
You return the mixture to the saucepan to thoroughly cook the egg and thicken the pudding. I had to clean my saucepan before finishing the pudding because I got some excessive browning on the bottom and sides as I tried to get the milk to boil; I probably wouldn't heat it as much next time. I had to scrape the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon as I finished cooking the pudding; that's where all the cornstarch thickens, so you don't want to let it set on bottom or you'll get lumps. I poured the pudding into 2 glass dishes and an additional cup (to take to a coworker). I doubled the vanilla and just used the whole vanilla bean since mine has a gentle flavor.
This was a great pudding. It turned out well using 1% milk. It had a wonderfully creamy texture and was sweet without being overly sweet. It wasn't too rich. I loved seeing the flecks of vanilla in it, although it would certainly be fine if you used extract instead of a vanilla bean. I think that adding the vanilla bean pod to the milk as it heated helped enhance the vanilla flavor in this. Eating this pudding makes me want to make more pudding. I may never try a different vanilla pudding recipe again.
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