seems as though many of us grew up on pudding. Whether your
childhood memory consists of grandma whipping up a batch over
the stove or preparing the box variety, pudding is a dessert
many of us consider to be one of our favorite desserts. After
all, what can beat a sweet, creamy and velvety dessert that
is so simple to prepare.
There are several types of pudding. Among
our favorites are cornstarch puddings, rice puddings and tapioca
puddings. Fortunately, all of these delicious desserts are
naturally gluten-free! And for those of you who are casein
free as well simply substitute soy milk for the milk
or half and half
.you wont be able to tell the
difference it is equally as delicious!
In reality pudding is nothing more than
milk, sugar and cornstarch. This magical mixture is cooked
together until the starch molecules bond, thickening the pudding
into a creamy, velvety cream. To prevent lumps from forming
prepare the pudding in a heavy bottomed saucepan, which will
provide even, gentle heat. Stir the pudding with a large,
heatproof semi-flexible spatula which easily reaches
the sides, bottom and corners of the saucepan. When mixing
the pudding, be sure to dissolve the cornstarch in a small
amount of liquid (usually milk or half and half), forming
a lump-free paste, before adding the remaining liquid.
Cooking the pudding is actually completed
in two phases; first, over medium-high heat and the second
over low heat. During the high heat phase be sure to mix the
pudding in slow sweeping circles, keeping the bottom and sides
of the pan scraped clean (it is very easy for the pudding
to burn on the bottom of the pan). When the pudding begins
to thicken turn the heat down to low if using an electric
stove, slide the pan off the burner completely to let the
burner cool. Continue to stir over the low heat, stirring
in quick little circles. The pudding may look lumpy at this
point but if you stir fast enough the lumps will dissipate.
Bring the pudding to a low simmer and let cook for 1 minute.
Pour the pudding into individual serving cups or a large bowl.
To prevent a skin from forming place plastic wrap directly
on top of the pudding. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or
for up to 2 days.
Many people wonder why sometimes their puddings
thickened appropriately in the saucepan and then suddenly
thin out. The answer lies in the bonds of the cornstarch.
These cornstarch bonds are actually very fragile. If you break
the bonds, your pudding will turn into a runny, thin mess.
In order to avoid this do not beat, strain or blend the pudding
after you remove it from the stove. Just pour it quickly before
it has a chance to stiffen and let it sit undisturbed.
For a basic pudding try our Vanilla
Many people use long-grain rice, particularly
leftovers for rice pudding, however, traditionally short-grain
rice was the actual preferred rice for rice pudding simply
because it they are high in starch and give the pudding a
richer, creamier texture. Unfortunately short grain rice is
sometimes hard to find in American supermarkets. If you can
only find long grain rice it will still make great pudding
as long as you dont use the pre-cooked variety such
as "minute rice" or "instant rice". Experiment
with different long-grain rice such as jasmine, basmati or
popcorn rice they will all impart a different flavor.
To make delicious rice pudding follow this
- 3/4 cup long-grain white rice
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon gf vanilla
- Cinnamon or Nutmeg (optional)
Place rice, water and salt in a heavy saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer
until all the water has been absorbed. Stir in cream, milk
and sugar. Cook uncovered for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently,
until the mixture is similar to a thick porridge. Remove from
heat and stir in vanilla. Spoon into ramekins or custard cups.
Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding
to prevent any skin from forming. Sprinkle tops with freshly
ground nutmeg or cinnamon. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tapioca comes from the tropical cassava
plant. Most grocery stores carry only quick-cooking tapioca
which is not only used to make tapioca pudding but is also
used to thicken sauces and fillings.
- 2-1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- Dash of salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk together the milk, sugar, tapioca
and salt in a heavy saucepan. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes.
Slowly bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring
constantly. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually
whisk half of the milk mixture into the egg. Thoroughly mix
the egg mixture into the remaining pudding (milk mixture).
Reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly, until the
pudding starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in
the vanilla. Let cool in the saucepan for 30 minutes. Pour
the mixture into individual bowls. Serve warm or chill until
you are ready to serve.
So as you can see there is not much to creating
a wonderful pudding. In fact, after you have made it a few
times you will wonder why people use the box variety. It is
not difficult to make and once you taste homemade pudding
you will discover that it is far better than store-bought