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 Actors:
I need you to gather a couple of “new” pantry thickeners from Asian or International markets. One is called “agar” also known as “agar-agar.” It’s a thickener made from seaweed!
While you’re there, grab a bag tapioca starch [aka potato flour]. They’re both inexpensive and vegetarian. [You can also substitute gelatin for agar and corn starch for tapioca, but these recipes were developed with agar and tapioca flour. You will have to tweak them for the right pudding structure].
INGREDIENTS: Be accurate with your dry ingredients for good thickening results
- agar – 1/2 tsp
- tapioca flour – 2 TBS, or corn starch
- salt – pinch
- spice – most any cookie spice or combo: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, clove
- 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]
- 1 TBS vinegar [rice, apple cider vinegar, or lemon or lime juice]
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
*My favorite plant based milk: Chobani® Plain Extra Creamy
INSTRUCTIONS: Save time and work by mixing everything in a small pot
In a small pot mix together the dry ingredients, then whisk in a small amount of the juice and thoroughly dissolve. Then add the remaining wet mix ingredients
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 tapioca starch to 3 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 [or to taste]
- salt- 1/8 tsp
- agar- 1/2 tsp
- tapioca starch- 3 TBS
- turmeric- 1/8 tsp
See standard instructions above to complete.
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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©2021, Bill Hettig. All rights reserved