Pudding On The Ritz – Get Ready to ParTAYE
Make Dozens of Recipes – They’re Almost Instant
Mom was expert with the sensible desserts of the 50’s—rice, tapioca, and bread puddings. They were always at-the-ready and they met [barely] our sweet end of dinner
As the years progressed instant desserts lured her. Jello® to the rescue, [although my sibs and I were never fans of clear Jello]. It needed to be creamy! And Presto! Jello evolved instant puddings. These too have lost favor (and flavor). By fate I had over a year of sequestering at home to rethink the joy of a good pudding. I will awaken you not with a whimper but with a bang!
These are the times to bring puddings back into the present! Could I deconstruct boxed puddings with just a few pantry ingredients? Could I turn juices or fresh fruits into any kind of luscious pudding? You bettcha! And I made them low-fat, and mostly vegan beauties!
Now if I see a bottle of mango nectar at Trader Joe’s, bang! I make Mango Puddin. I harvested fresh pineapples from my garden and, pow, Piña Colada Puddin. It knows no end in sight! There’s rarely a time I don’t have a cold, creamy, and sweet-tart puddin to end a meal or enjoy as a snack. Zounds! Whisky Sour Puddin with Apples and Walnuts!
It took umpteen tweaks and trials, but I am happy to share Pantry Puddins
Got Juice, Got Nectar, Got Fresh Fruit?
Here are some of my quickest puddins
Juice Puddins: Pomegranate, Cranberry, Tart Cherry, Key Lime, Lemonade
Nectar Puddins: Mango, Apricot
Puréed Puddins: Blackberry, Pineapple, Watermelon, Kiwi, Orange, Tangerine
Introducing the New Puddin Supporting Actor:
I need you to gather a “new” pantry thickener from Asian or International markets. It’s called “agar” also known as “agar-agar.” It’s a thickener made from seaweed!
[You can also substitute gelatin for agar
INGREDIENTS: Be accurate with your dry ingredients for good thickening results
- agar – 1/2 tsp
- corn starch – 3 TBS
- salt – pinch
- spice – most any cookie spice or combo: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, clove
- turmeric powder – [optional for a splash of yellow]
- For Clear Puddins – 2 cups juice, nectar, or purée
- For Creamy Puddins – Reduce juice by 1/2 cup and replace with: plant based milk*, half n half, or heavy cream [You need a creamy textured milk alternate. Rice milk is too thin]
- 2 TBS rice vinegar or lemon or lime juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract [on occasion]
- Combine the wet ingredients and taste: adjust so you get a sharp taste profile [think lemonade] of sweet and tart
- In a small pot mix together the dry ingredients, then whisk in about a 1/2 cup of the juice and thoroughly dissolve, then add the remaining wet mix ingredients
- While heating through it is time to taste and decide if there is enough sweet-tartness. Use lemonade as your flavor profile: you need a spike of sweet and tart right up front to yield an exciting puddin; add more sugar or acid until it sparkles
- Bring to a simmer, then pour into a serving bowl or individual dishes
- That’s it! Pour into a serving bowl or individual dessert dishes. Cool, then refrigerate for several hours
Some Intriguing Puddin Properties
If after you chill your puddin and the texture is not right, reheat to temporarily return to a liquid. Then dilute with more juice or add a little more thickener.* Simmer then pour back into bowl and it will reset.
* Always dilute the thickener in a bit of cold liquid before adding to a hot pot to prevent lumps.
The Art of the Puddin
- You can layer different puddings for multi-flavored or multi-colored desserts by reheating and pouring one puddin atop another chilled pudding for both bi-color and taste combos. Think kiwi under watermelon Puddin to create a faux slice of watermelon [don’t forget the raisin “seeds.”]
- Cut up fresh or dried fruit, or candy bits to drop in to build texture and intrigue.
- To serve, layer spoonfuls of pudding between whipped cream or other toppings: think parfaits.
- I even add tiny spoonfuls of ice cream or previously frozen puddin “ice cubes” to a still warm pudding so it will melt in place and create a little hidden “pond” —adding a delectable surprise.
- Here’s a real winner: fill individual ramekins halfway with pudding and chill. Create a pocket in the center and spoon Irish Cream or Tia Maria liqueur into the pocket, then cover with more warm pudding before chilling. Don’t tell your guests!
- Puddins made from bottled juices usually need an extra punch of sweet-tart. That is an easy to-do. Taste the puddin after it comes to a simmer and adjust using vinegar, lemon or lime juice, and/or sugar. When tasting you want an exaggerated sweet-tart “smack!” Make sure that happens! Puddins need this flavor boost to make them bloom into exciting desserts.
- If you have fruit with seeds—like blackberries, or strawberries—you may prefer to purée and then push through a fine mesh strainer before starting.
- turmeric- optional. If you want to shout “yellow!” add an 1/8 tsp. turmeric powder.
- liqueur, spirits- add 2-3 TBS. of rum, whiskey, bourbon, Bailey’s Irish cream, etc. to build excitement. I add them off heat to preserve the alcohol “sting.” But you can simmer to burn off if you wish.
- If using very clear juice—void of pulp—like apple or pomegranate, increase corn starch to 4 TBS [to compensate lack of pulp]
- If adding bits of fruit, or other items, lay them on the top of the pudding.
- [While testing the puddin above I added zones of delight with bits of: chocolate, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, chopped dates, and candied ginger in the center].
- It’s fun to top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, or whipped cream
My Repeat Favs!
Mango Coconut Puddin
Use the creamy puddin recipe above. I love organic mango nectar blend at a Trader Joe’s. To 1 1/2 cups nectar add 1/2 cup coconut cream [not low fat] and then follow the directions above. I grate in some lime zest, too. The topping winner: bits of candied ginger!
Other Pantry Puddins I will make again:
Pomegranate or Cranberry Juice Puddin [Gorgeously deep red with a tart punch like cranberry sauce. I use this for a quick color and flavor punch to a meal, just like cranberry sauce.
Key Lime Puddin – Sooo Good!
- fresh lime juice- 6 TBS (3 oz)
- coconut cream- 4 TBS (2 oz) [not milk]
- lime zest- 1 tsp
- water- added to above to make 2 cups
- sugar- 3 TBS [to taste]
- salt- 1/8 tsp
- agar- 1/2 tsp
- corn starch- 3 TBS
- turmeric- 1/8 tsp
See standard instructions above to complete.
Tart Cherry-Almond-Ginger Puddin
When making puddins, taste during the heating stage and adjust for a sweet-tart “lemonade” sharp flavor. Use rice vinegar, or tart citrus juice.
Another great find is pomegranate molasses, it’s perfectly sweet-tart right out of the bottle
- Tart cherry juice – 2 cups
- almond extract – 1 tsp
- Wet mix [see above]
- Dry mix [see above]
- Extra corn starch – 2 TBS
- Dried sour cherries – 1/4 cup, chopped
- Candied ginger – 1/4 cup, chopped
Cherry Puddin Parfait
With layers of Greek Yogurt, Peaches & Pecans
[See recipe above; use tart cherry juice for the fruit juice ingredient]
For Sunny Lemonade Puddin, that smacks of vegan lemon curd
Check back often as I am creating new recipes. If you create one to share please contact me on this site.
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STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM PUDDIN
This is a soon-to-be classic puddin. I use organic strawberries tossed in sugar to macerate. Take the 1/2 cup or so of the macerated liquid and mix with enough Greek yogurt to make 2 cups. [Alternately you can puree a 1/2 cup of berries and add to yogurt].
Then in a pot combine the dry ingredients: 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 1/2 tsp agar [or gelatin], 3 TBS cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 TBS malted milk powder [optional], 4 TBS sugar—or to taste.
Stir in 1/2 cup strawberry mixture until all is dissolved, then pour in the remaining mixture. Add in 1 TBS rice or white wine vinegar.
[BELOW: macerated strawberry juice, juice mixed with yogurt, and malted milk powder
Slowly heat up to a full simmer, stirring regularly. Off heat add 1 tsp vanilla. Pour into a bowl and cool about 15 minutes, then top with diced strawberries. Thoroughly chill.
Serve topped with 1 cup strained Greek yogurt mixed with 2 TBS confectioners sugar and 1 1/2 TBS whiskey or bourbon and crumbled cookies of choice
©2022, Bill Hettig. All rights reserved
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