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Sometimes all we need is a bowl of creamy smooth Vanilla Pudding to satisfy a craving. It is amazing how you can take everyday ingredients like milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla, and transform them into a dessert that tastes so good. It is easy to make, and it is delicious hot, at room temperature, or even cold. It looks so enticing when served in pretty bowls with a dollop of softly whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted nuts.
When you make Vanilla Pudding what you are really doing is making a ‘cooked’ custard. The difference between a pudding and a custard is that a pudding contains cornstarch. Cornstarch is used to make the pudding thick enough to eat with a spoon. Puddings have to be cooked carefully to prevent lumps. So keep the heat fairly low and use a heavy bottomed saucepan, making sure that you stir constantly with a large heatproof silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Once the pudding has become thick, like mayonnaise, remove it from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. If you have any lumps, strain the pudding. If you like your vanilla pudding warm, then by all means eat it right away. But if you like your pudding cold, simply press plastic wrap onto the surface of the puddings and refrigerate until firm (a couple of hours). For those who like a skin (film) on the top of their pudding, let the pudding cool uncovered and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Try to use good quality ingredients when making a Vanilla Pudding. Since vanilla is the prominent flavor in this vanilla pudding, try to use “pure” vanilla extract. Another option is to use pure vanilla bean paste. This paste contains vanilla seeds so your pudding will have those lovely little black seeds in it. You can also use one whole vanilla bean. To use the bean; cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Add this, along with the pod, to your milk when you are bringing it to a boil. The pod can then be removed, rinsed, dried, and placed in some granulated white sugar to make vanilla sugar.
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Article and Demonstration by Stephanie Jaworski
Photo and Videography by Rick Jaworski
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