When you think special dessert, I’m guessing vanilla pudding isn’t your first thought.
I know pudding seems more like childhood snack than grand dessert. And poor vanilla is the often overlooked flavor – passed over in favor of more decadent sounding flavors like Death by Chocolate or Dulce de Leche.
Well, I’m here to advocate for the humble vanilla pudding.
I believe pudding can be just as elegant as mousse, pot de crème or flan and it is so much easier to make. You probably already have everything you need to whip up a batch of vanilla pudding right now. And you can have it in the fridge in less than 20 minutes.
This recipe makes just four servings so you can indulge just enough and not have a lot left over to tempt you for the next several days like you might with a large decadent cake. But don’t feel like you’re sacrificing anything here either, this vanilla pudding is rich and creamy and will satisfy any sweet tooth.
If you been reading my blog for awhile, you know I’m a big fan of pudding for all kinds of occasions. Vanilla pudding for Valentine’s Day is perfect in my opinion. You can dress it up by serving the pudding in pretty stemware and topping it with some blood oranges or white chocolate curls. No one has to know how effortless the whole thing was.
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 2 cups milk (see Notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (see Notes)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Fruit for serving, optional (see Notes)
- Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add milk and vanilla paste and whisk until cornstarch is dissolved.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks until lightly beaten then slowly pour in half the milk mixture while whisking the egg mixture constantly.
- Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook over medium heat while whisking the pudding until it simmers and thickens, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and butter and whisk until incorporated.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Add vanilla extract and butter, and whisk until butter is completely melted.
- Cool the pudding by putting the pan in an ice bath, being careful not to get any water into the pudding. Allow the saucepan to sit in the ice bath until the pudding is cool, whisking occasionally, about 15 minutes.
- Pour pudding into dessert cups and refrigerate until set.
- Top with choice of fruit and serve.
You can use non-fat, low-fat, or whole milk depending on your preference. Whole milk will give you the richest flavor but non-fat or low-fat are still quite good (and lower in fat).
If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, you can omit it or substitute in half a vanilla bean that has been split and the seeds scraped out and added to the milk. Remove the vanilla bean pod before whisking the milk into the eggs.
For this post, I topped the pudding with chopped blood orange supremes and some juice. You can also use chopped strawberries or whole raspberries.
If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the ice bath in Step 6. Instead, pour the warm pudding into individual serving cups then press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the pudding (this will keep a skin from forming). Chill until set.