My oldest loves to cook. Being a kid, his favorite things to cook are typically desserts.
The other day he made homemade donuts (not the kind that comes from canned biscuits either), the kind Caroline Ingalls might have made. They were the best tasting donuts I had ever eaten! (Yes, I sneaked one bite despite my wheat intolerance!)
Today he made homemade pudding and I thought I would share the recipe. I’ve been using this one for years, and it’s a slight variation of the recipe found in Whole Foods for the Whole Family. Which is an excellent cookbook by the way, it’s one of my all time favorites.
This recipe has about a million variations. You can make it gluten free, egg free, dairy free and corn free (just substitute arrowroot for the cornstarch and cook for a shorter time) in case of food allergy. You can make it plain old vanilla, carob, chocolate, coconut, fruit, lemon, rice, butterscotch, etc. And of course it’s wonderful as-is.
It’s delicious and VERY inexpensive to make. And honestly, it takes about the same amount of time to make as instant, especially if you put a kid on the job.
It has far less sugar and more actual food and nutritional value in it than instant pudding you can buy on the grocery store shelves. As a point of reference let’s take a peek at what’s inside one major name brand instant pudding:
Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Coconut, Contains Less than 2% of Artificial Flavor, Disodium Phosphate and Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (for Thickening), Mono- and Diglycerides (Prevent Foaming), Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Artificial Color, Sodium Metabisulfite (Retains Coconut Whiteness), BHA (Preservative).
Yum! A chemical conglomeration passed off as food! Conveniently packed in plastic disposable servings!
Try this instead:
Quick Homemade Pudding
- 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup milk (this makes more sense to me than saying “2 cups milk, divided”)
- 4 Tablespoons sweetener (I use honey or Rapadura)
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla (use 1 teaspoon if you’re making chocolate)
1) Place sweetener and 1 1/2 cup milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on low. While you’re waiting for it to reach a simmer, mix the 1/2 cup milk with the cornstarch or arrowroot. Get the eggs ready in a small bowl too.
2) When the milk is bubbling a bit, add the cornstarch/milk mixture, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
3) Mix about 1/2 cup of the pudding mixture into the bowl with your beaten eggs and stir well, then add to the saucepan. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
4) Remove from heat and add vanilla and other ingredients.
I think it’s tastiest cooled but you may not want to wait that long!
To make chocolate pudding, mix a scant 1/4 cup cocoa powder with a little hot water then stir in. (Remember to decrease the vanilla to one teaspoon. You can also use carob.)
For coconut, add 1//2 to 1 cup coconut flakes.
For rice pudding increase the milk by 1/4 cup and add 1 cup cooked rice to finished pudding, sprinkle nutmeg on top and add raisins if you like.
For butterscotch, add 2 Tablespoons molasses to the sweetener and stir in 2 Tablespoons butter after removing from heat.
For lemon, substitute lemon juice for vanilla and add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind.
Add fruit like sliced bananas if you wish to the basic vanilla recipe.
Leave out the eggs if you’re allergic. Use soy milk instead of dairy if you’re allergic to that. If corn is an issue, replace the cornstarch with arrowroot and decrease cooking times. You can also use 6 Tablespoons flour instead of cornstarch.