Rich, creamy and sweet, Vanilla Pudding is the epitome of comfort food. So simple to make you’ll never reach for the instant stuff again. Fantastic for an every day treat but elegant enough for entertaining.
One of the first things I ever learned to make was vanilla pudding. It was so simple, especially when you bought a package of instant pudding….you, literally, had dessert in a matter of minutes. I always preferred the stovetop instant pudding over the “mix and stir” variety, there was something about the whole process of steaming the milk and then whisking in the powder that made me feel totally like a culinary wizard even at the ripe old age of 8.
I loved the first bite of the pudding…still warm from the saucepan, like a sweet custard that was supposed to be filling a pie or a mountain of cream puffs. But I could eat it out of the bowl….just with a spoon…and enjoy everything about that simple dessert without the mess of a crust or pastry getting in the way. 🙂
It wasn’t until much later in life….like 20 years or so…that I started dabbling in the “from scratch” pudding arena. It was really out of desperation and necessity….I had run out of pudding and I was having a late night craving that needed to be satisfied. So, I did what any self-respecting pudding lover would do and I started to experiment a bit with ingredients I already had on hand. Sugar, half and half, vanilla, butter…..simple ingredients that just needed a little hand coming together to create the ultimate creamy, sweet bowl of heaven. The Very Best Vanilla Pudding ever.
This recipe for the Very Best Vanilla Pudding takes less than 15 minutes to make, about the same time it would take you to make it from the box. The box filled with preservatives and additives that I can’t even pronounce. And you’ll save some money too because I bet you have everything you need to make this Vanilla Pudding right in your kitchen. The rich, cream is studded with vanilla bean flecks and is smooth like a pudding should be. One spoonful of this and you’ll never buy it in the box again. Be sure to use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on…I love Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste for the pure vanilla flavor and gorgeous flecks. And I always use Plugra European Style butter for added richness. The Very Best Vanilla Pudding would be fabulous with a little of this caramel sauce stirred in or alongside a stack of THESE chocolate chip cookies. So tell me….what was your favorite recipe that got you started in the kitchen?
The Very Best Vanilla Pudding
- 2 1/2 cups half and half
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use Plugra European Style Butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons corn starch (add an extra tablespoon for a thicker consistency.)
- In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of half and half to a simmer (do not boil). Add both sugars and vanilla. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring constantly to prevent scalding. Stir in the butter until melted. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining half and half with the cornstarch. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the half and half whisking constantly. Continue cooking until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap being sure the plastic wrap is touching the top of the pudding. (This will prevent a skin from forming.) Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.