by Cat, Feb 2008 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Nothing beats a good soft, creamy pudding as comfort food. Additionally, vanilla pudding is a base for several cream pies including banana and coconut, which is my primary reason for making it.
Because these puddings typically contain a lot of sugar, they should not be indulged frequently. Except for special occasions, I prefer to use stevia or a mixture of stevia and sugar, honey or maple syrup to sweeten creamy puddings.
The base for creamy puddings is a stove-top custard made with milk/cream and eggs. Chocolate goes well with coconut, and substituting the cream with coconut milk is an interesting twist. However, I don’t recommend replacing the milk with coconut milk, as the protein in dairy milk is important for the texture of the custard.
Using a double boiler
I prefer to cook stove-top creamy puddings in a double boiler so the milk doesn’t scorch. To use a double boiler, add water to lower portion, not so much that the upper portion gets wet on the bottom when set on top. Bring water to a boil. Add ingredients to upper portion, then set over the boiling water. Stir mixture frequently, and check water level in lower portion so that it doesn’t boil dry. Pudding may never come to a full boil but will come close, and the pudding will be very thick.
You can also cook pudding in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir constantly so milk doesn’t scorch, until pudding comes to a full boil. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes.
This recipe is adapted from bhg.com (1), and serves 6 – 8.
The original recipe calls for ¾ cup sugar, but I prefer to use stevia with a bit of maple syrup:
My preference is 1 ½ tsp dark liquid stevia extract (or ⅜ tsp stevia extract powder) and 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup. Alternately, you could increase honey or maple syrup to 2 Tbsp, and decrease stevia extract powder to ¼ tsp (or 1 tsp dark liquid stevia extract), for the same equivalent sweetness.
This recipe doesn’t use a double boiler, but I highly recommend using one; however, the cooking time will be greater. See above for instructions.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 ½ tsp dark liquid stevia extract, or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder)*
- 1 Tbsp local honey or Grade-B maple syrup (or 1 – 1 ½ Tbsp Rapadura or white cane sugar)*
- 3 Tbsp Organic or non-GMO cornstarch or 6 Tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 cup light cream (or diluted coconut milk)
- 2 cups whole milk (not homogenized)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 ½ tsp real vanilla extract
- small bowl
- 2 quart saucepan
- egg whisk or wooden spoon
- waxed paper
* Note, if you don’t want to use stevia and honey/maple syrup, use ¾ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar to avoid GMOs.
- Beat egg yolks lightly in small bowl; set aside.
- Combine cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup of the milk; whisk well to dissolve.
- Combine sweeteners in medium saucepan. If using honey, add a pinch of baking soda. Whisk in milk, cream and milk/starch mixture.
- Heat, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; careful, it greatly increases in volume. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.
- Remove from heat. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of hot mixture into lightly beaten egg yolks. Then add this mixture back into creamy mixture in saucepan.
- Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and whisk constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter with vanilla until blended.
- Pour pudding into a large bowl. Cover surface with waxed paper. Refrigerate 4 – 5 hours, or until well chilled.