Vanilla Bean Pudding

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Let’s talk pudding.

It doesn’t sound sexy like “panna cotta” or sophisticated like “pot de crem.” It sounds like the kind of thing you eat out of a plastic container with an aluminum peel on top which, for many people who grew up with Billy Cosby shilling for it on TV, it very much is. Which is unfortunate because good pudding–the kind of pudding you make at home with whole milk, sugar, corn starch, and any flavor combination you want–can be a cozier and more comforting dessert than those fancier, European concoctions.

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Emily Wallendjack’s Pistachio Pudding (at Cookshop)

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Meet my friend Cara (screen-left, pink top). On October 9th, she’s getting married.

A few weeks ago, at her wedding shower, we were chatting and I was asking her about her wedding cake.

“We’re not having a wedding cake,” she said. “I’d rather have a dessert I really like,” she explained. But when it came to choosing that dessert she said, “The one dessert I most want is this pistachio pudding with chocolate cookies and salted whipped cream I once had at Cookshop. But I don’t think they’ll give me the recipe.”

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I Tried To Invent A Pudding

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Ok, the election is over, we can all breathe a heavy sigh of relief, and move on with our lives. What better way to move on than to try to invent a pudding?

After making Elise’s foolproof recipe for chocolate pudding (click here) several times–it’s become something of a staple in our home–I began to think deeply about the process. “Ok,” I thought, ” to make chocolate pudding you put milk in a pot with sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and a pinch of salt. You heat and whisk vigorously until it gets really thick, then you add an egg and some more chocolate and put in ramekins or mugs and refrigerate. That’s all you do.”

My thoughts continued: “So why can’t I just put anything I want in milk, add cornstarch and sugar and a pinch of salt, and make whatever kind of pudding I can dream up? Why can’t I invent my own pudding?”

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