Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekend Recipe: Simple Chocolate Pudding



This weekend's recipe isn't anything fancy, but the oh-so-simple pudding is so versatile, like a great sauce. Leave out the cocoa and you have vanilla pudding, add bananas and Nilla wafers to the vanilla pudding and you have an incredible banana pudding (make sure you save some for breakfast). Layer the pudding with pound cake, jam and frozen berries for a comforting trifle, or use the pudding as a pie filling. It's creamy and rich, and knocks the socks off the Jello-in-a-box stuff, and it's just as simple as the cook-n-serve Jello pudding, and clocking in at 20 minutes not much more time consuming than the instant kind. And more comforting than a rich, creamy pudding, especially one you don't have to eat out of a plastic, foil-topped cup?

Simple Pudding

2 eggs
1/3 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 c milk (use 1 can evaporated skim milk plus enough regular milk to make 2 cups for a very rich, fat-free alternative to whole milk)
a pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (optional, for chocolate variation)
1 tsp. vanilla
small knob of butter (optional)

Beat the eggs and combine with sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour and cocoa. You can mix the cocoa with a little milk first to keep it from clumping, if you like. Add the milk and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat.


As soon as the pudding thickens -- like the picture to the left shows the bottom of the pan, which is closer to the heat and therefore a bit thicker than the top will be -- remove it from the heat and pour it into a bowl. If you overcook it, you'll curdle the eggs and the pudding will have a really eggy taste. Stir in the vanilla and butter, then chill before serving. It's most excellent with fresh whipped cream.

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