Friday, September 3, 2010

Pudding Cups

Why does it seem like the best pudding cups at the grocery store are always sugar free?! Well, these pudding cups definitely are NOT sugar free. 

I started off with a very simple chocolate pudding for the bottom layer. I found the recipe on

One is the loneliest number. 

1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.

I got the vanilla bean pudding recipe from The New York Times site.

The vanilla bean specks look superimposed. 

2 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (optional).

Directions 1. Put 2 cups of half-and-half or milk, sugar and salt in a small or medium saucepot over medium-low heat. If using a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into milk or half-and-half using small sharp knife, then add pod. Cook just until mixture begins to steam.
2. Combine cornstarch and remaining milk or half-and-half in a bowl and blend; there should be no lumps. Fish pod from pot and discard. Add cornstarch mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to very low and stir for 5 minutes or so until thick. Stir in butter and vanilla extract, if using.
3. Pour mixture into a 1-quart dish or 4 to 6 small ramekins or bowls. Put plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent formation of a skin, or do not cover if you like skin. Refrigerate until chilled, and serve within a day, with whipped cream if you like. Whisk to remove lumps if needed.
Yield: 4 servings.
Note: To make chocolate pudding, shave or finely chop 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate. Stir into pudding with the butter.

Baking or cooking with vanilla beans requires some planning ahead so you don't get ripped off. You may spend anywhere from $12 to $17 buying two vanilla bean pods. I get my vanilla beans from a trusted eBay seller, Vanilla Products USA. If you go to their store you can order 10 Grade A 6 incher Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for under $10 including shipping and handling. Whoa, Nelly!  Although I love chocolate more than almost anything, I do prefer vanilla ice cream and pudding. I don't know why. I guess 'cause they're sweeter. So, suffice it to say, my favorite layer in the pudding cups was the top layer! However, eating chocolate pudding while it's still warm is definitely a note-worthy treat. 

Pudding cups waiting to fulfill their destiny. 


  1. Looks yummy! It's really hard to go wrong with pudding. I made a chocolate pudding pie last weekend, although it wasn't homemade. BUT I did stir up some fresh whipped cream for the topping. Growing up my mom would make homemade pudding and we'd always eat it hot. Vanilla with cut up bananas and frozen whipped cream. Yummy!

  2. your mom helped make chocolate pudding pie this last week and used JELLO brand....and here all along she could have made it home DARE she hold out on the rest of us!

  3. Anyway...Bakety,
    I'm glad you mentioned the vanilla bean specks looking super imposed because I thought the same thing myself....since you addressed it openly it caused me to believe that they were real afterall....I see you're very practiced in reverse psychology.

  4. So pretty! Love how the vanilla seeds just make the whole dish look so posh! I've never tried this kind of pudding it kinda like a mousse? :)

  5. It's more like what you'd call custard, I think, Nessie!