SMiLes by Meg

Vanilla Pudding

Long distance is tough. With Erik in Alaska, and neither of us able to travel since COVID started, it’s been extra tough. Sometimes I’ll mail treats up his way (he got last week’s lavender shortbread cookies), but most of the time I’m making things that don’t exactly ship well (let me know if you have a good way to ship strawberry sorbet – he definitely wanted to try that one). So this week, when I off-handedly asked him what I should make, and he suggested pudding, it felt like a way to kind of have him around while I was baking, and I needed that.

Well, actually, Erik suggested I make Souffle, but that seemed a bit extravagant for a dessert that I would probably eat by myself all week. Pudding was option number two, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Plus, it was extra nice eating dessert tonight knowing Erik picked it out for me!

Another great part about pudding? It’s not too oppressive to make in the crazy heat in Boston this weekend. Just 20-ish minutes over the stovetop, and the rest is chilling.

Start by combining 2 cups of the half-and-half, the sugar, the vanilla seeds and pod and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium low heat just until it starts to steam, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining half cup of half-and-half and cornstarch until there are no clumps.

When the mixture over the stove starts to steam, fish out the vanilla bean pods.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture, and continue cooking over medium low heat until it just starts to boil, stirring occasionally.

Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to low and continue cooking, about five minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Stir in the butter until it melts, then remove from heat.

Divide the mixture between 4 ramekins (or 6 if you don’t want monster servings).

Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for a couple of hours to chill before serving.

So easy, right? Plus, who doesn’t love a dessert in ramekins.

Enjoy!

Vanilla Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half, divided
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and scraped
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, combine 2 cups of half-and-half, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod and salt. Cook until just begins to steam, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup half-and-half and cornstarch until there are no clumps.
  3. When cooked mixture is steaming, pull out the vanilla bean pod.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and continue cooking over medium low heat until it just starts to boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir in butter to melt and remove from heat.
  7. Divide mixture between 4 to 6 ramekins. Press plastic wrap into top of pudding on each, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

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