Vanilla Bean Pudding
To create this vanilla pudding, I crunched together two pretty standard recipes, using 4/5 of a cornstarch pudding and 2/5 of a very egg-heavy one. Yeah, I just admitted that. What can I say? I love math.
This is absolutely delicious as written but there are ways you can dress it up. You can add a tablespoon of butter at the end, right before letting it chill. You can finish it with a teaspoon of rum, which, trust me, is amazing against the vanilla bean. You can top it with softly whipped cream or a fruit compote or some combination of the two.
The amount of cornstarch below should yield you a vanilla pudding that leaves a spoon impression. If you prefer that your pudding is more wobbly and a little slump-ish, use 3 tablespoons instead. This is not an excessively sweet pudding, but if you like puddings just mildly sweet, use 1/3 cup sugar instead.
Makes 6 half-cup servings
2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
1 large egg
Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While it is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean (if you’re replacing it with extract, don’t add it yet; if you’d like to toss the leftover vanilla bean pods in the pot with the simmering milk for an extra vanilla boost, go for it) in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, then whisk in the egg. Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time.
Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer (which will cook the cornstarch and egg fully). Stir in vanilla extract, if you’re using it and divide pudding among 6 dishes. Chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours.