The Classics: Vanilla & Chocolate Pudding

 

Few things remind me of childhood more than pudding. Watching my mom stir for what seemed like hours on end. Delicately spooning the mixture into bowls, making sure my brother and I got the exact same amount. Waiting impatiently while the pudding set in the fridge – always on the highest shelf to keep it out of reach from my greedy hands. The finger-swipe through the pot to tantalize my taste buds.  A second, third and fourth taste. Finally getting to dig into to the chilled delicious pudding.

 

The best part about pudding is how easy it is to make. Pudding is the least pretentious, most comfortable dessert out there. It is so easy that you and your pudding-loving friend don’t even have to like the same flavor. Y’all just have to like taking turns stirring.

 

Vanilla or Chocolate? Few questions can divide a room quicker than this age-old flavor quandary. Have no fear though. These pudding recipes are so simple you can easily make both. So long as you cook them long enough, it is almost impossible to mess up pudding.

 

Despite being the same dessert, you’ll notice a few differences between the two recipes. One has eggs and one doesn’t. One uses real vanilla bean and one uses extract. More on these differences below. What you do get from both recipes though is spoon-licking scrumptious pudding. Whether you like vanilla or chocolate, a skin on top or no skin on your pudding, chilled or fresh from the pot hot pudding, you can have it with these recipes.

 

Cornstarch: These pudding recipes use cornstarch as the primary thickening
agent. A mixture using cornstarch will become its thickest at the boiling point. These recipes will call for your to bring the mixture just to that point. Avoid cooking or boiling the mixture much beyond this point as boiling cornstarch longer than a minute or so can cause the mixture to breakdown. Also, don’t try and cheat and use a hand mixer or immersion blender to save you some stirring; this rapid, violent mixing can impede cornstarch’s ability to thicken.

 

Vanilla Pudding: Anytime I make a recipe with vanilla as the star, I will use vanilla beans instead of extract. The flavor you get from a vanilla bean is far superior to what you can get from extract; it has a fuller, more natural vanilla flavor. You also get those little vanilla seeds which add a textural component and the distinctive dotted this-is-vanilla look. The vanilla pudding recipe uses eggs to help thicken and bind the pudding (the chocolate pudding recipe does not). Since it also uses cornstarch you can heat the mixture without worrying about cooking the eggs. You’ll still want to use a heavy-bottomed pot, stir often, and watch the temperature as pudding can scorch and lump easily.

 

Vanilla Beans While vanilla beans can be painfully expensive, they provide numerous benefits extract on its own cannot. In addition to the advantages mentioned above, a spent vanilla bean can be used again so don’t throw the pod away after removing it from the pudding. Rinse it and let it dry completely. Then place it in an airtight container with a few cups of sugar. Agitate daily and within a week or two you will have vanilla sugar. The smaller the ratio between sugar to vanilla bean(s), the stronger the vanilla flavor in the sugar.

 

 

Vanilla Pudding
 
Recipe by:
Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces cornstarch
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
Instructions
  1. Mix together the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until homogenous.
  2. Cut into the vanilla bean lengthwise so you can open it up like a book. Open the bean and use the knife's point to scrape out all of the vanilla bean seeds into the pot. Place the pod in the pot as well.
  3. Pour the milk into the pot and heat over medium, medium-high heat. Heat the milk just to the boiling point (don't let it boil long) stirring constantly. This will take about 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. If you're a nervous cook or know you won't stir frequently, I suggest using medium or medium-low heat.
  5. Once at the boiling point, temper the egg, sugar and cornstarch mix. Return the tempered egg mixture to the pot with the milk. Place the pot back over medium, medium-high heat and stir until the mixture is very thick and coats a spoon, stir constantly. This will take 10 to 20 minutes.
  6. You can bring this mixture to a boil as well, though do not let it boil long.
  7. Remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the pudding into bowls.
  8. Refrigerate the bowls for at least a few hours, or until the pudding is chilled and set. If you don't like skin on your pudding, place saran wrap directly on top of the pudding. If you like the skin you don't have to do anything though you may want to cover the bowls if you have a lot of stinky things in your fridge.
  9. The pudding can absorb odors and tastes.
 

Chocolate Pudding: The recipe for chocolate pudding is similar to the vanilla pudding recipe except for the vanilla used, a lack of eggs and of course the addition of chocolate. Instead of using a vanilla bean this recipe uses vanilla extract. This is done for a couple reasons: 1. Since chocolate is the star, the vanilla only needs to highlight the chocolate flavor (this would be a waste of an expensive vanilla bean), 2. Because the milk isn’t scaled on it’s own first, the vanilla bean would not have as much time to impart it’s flavor into the pudding. You should still use a very good vanilla extract. And because the chocolate acts as a thickening agent in the pudding and helps bind everything together, eggs aren’t needed.

 

Once the chocolate is added, be sure to keep the heat low as a high heat can cause the oils in the chocolate to separate. If this happens you will have to start over.

 

Chocolate: I use dark chocolate in this recipe because it gives it just the right rich, chocolate flavor. As always, I suggest getting good chocolate as it will make a difference, especially in a recipe like this. Don’t use chocolate chips as many are made to withstand melting, and thus will not melt through the pudding properly.

 

 

Chocolate Pudding
 
Recipe by:
Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces cornstarch
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 ounces 70% cocoa bar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Mix together the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Place this in a heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Stir the milk into the dry ingredients in the pot. Heat over medium, medium-high heat cook until the mixture is very thick and coats a spoon, stirring constantly. This will take about 15 to 25 minutes.
  3. If you're a nervous cook or know you will neglect your stirring duties, I suggest using medium or medium-low heat.
  4. Once thick, reduce the heat to low. Break the chocolate into small chunks and all to the pudding. Cook the mixture over low, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted. This will take about 5 minutes.
  5. Chocolate is very sensitive to heat, so don't try and cheat here with a higher heat.
  6. Remove from the heat. Stir the vanilla extract in. Pour the pudding into bowls.
  7. Refrigerate the bowls for at least a few hours, or until the pudding is chilled and set. If you don't like skin on your pudding, place saran wrap directly on top of the pudding. If you like the skin you don't have to do anything though you may want to cover the bowls if you have a lot of stinky things in your fridge.
  8. The pudding can absorb odors and tastes.
 

 

So, are you a vanilla fan or a chocolate lover? What is your favorite flavor of pudding?

Enjoy!

Save this recipe here:
0

AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Food nerd. Cookbook author. Founder of Chasing Delicious. Pastry cook at Fluff Bake Bar. Lover of hot dogs. Russell van Kraayenburg founded Chasing Delicious in 2010 and has been chasing delicious recipes ever since. Russell is author of the cookbooks Haute Dogs and Making Dough.

225 Comments

0

Post A Comment

Rate this recipe:  

Want delicious recipes everyday?