Start to Finish: 30 minutes plus chilling time
Vanilla pudding is a classic dessert that gets a gloss of glamour with high-quality flavorings and a rich, creamy texture. To make extra-flavorful vanilla pudding, use a vanilla bean in place of extract, and use egg yolks to thicken the dessert. In addition to vanilla, the pudding is flavored with rose water, to give it a floral aroma and a more complex flavor. This recipe is adapted from ones by Betty Crocker, the kitchn and CBC.
- 1 fresh vanilla bean pod
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks, beaten
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted and softened
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon rose water, optional
Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the small seeds in each half, putting the seeds in a large mixing bowl. In the same bowl, whisk the cream, cornstarch and vanilla seeds together until the cornstarch is thoroughly incorporated, making a slurry. Stir in the beaten egg yolks.
Substitute 1 tablespoon of high-quality vanilla extract for the vanilla bean if you cannot find one.
Heat the milk, butter and salt in a medium-size saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sugar, regularly stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Cook the milk until it is just simmering. There will be small bubbles along the edge of the pot and the surface of the milk will begin to bubble.
Slowly pour half of the milk mixture into the bowl that has the egg yolks and cream, whisking as you do so. Reheat the milk mixture in the pot until it starts to steam.
Pour the milk and egg mix in the mixing bowl into the pot with the remaining milk. Whisk steadily, then raise the heat to medium-high.
Bring the pudding mix to a rolling boil, whisking steadily. When the pudding begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium and cook at a steady boil for two to three minutes until the pudding is thickened considerably.
Remove the pan from the stove and add the rose water to the pudding if you are using it. Let the pudding rest for 10 minutes in the pot before covering the pudding’s surface with plastic wrap. Cover the pot with a lid and chill it in the refrigerator until the pudding is cold.
Not covering the surface of the pudding before chilling leads to a "skin" forming, which makes the pudding lumpy rather than smooth and creamy.
To serve, remove the plastic wrap and stir the pudding, transferring it into individual bowls or cups. Serve chilled, plain or with whipped cream.
Save the vanilla bean pod to use for other dishes, such as simmering in a custard sauce or for flavoring sugar.
The pudding can be made with more cornstarch. Decrease the number of egg yolks by one for every tablespoon extra of cornstarch, but it won’t be as creamy or rich.
Give vanilla pudding an exotic twist by adding one or more ground spices to the cream slurry. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of:
- Ginger powder
- Ground cardamom
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg