EVENT: A- Z RECIPE CHALLENGE
THEME : AN INGREDIENT BEGINNING WITH THE LETTER V
RECIPE: VANILLA PUDDING, EGG FREE
What is Vanilla Pudding?
So creamy, silky, delectable and easy to make. Dress Vanilla Pudding up with fruits, ginger snaps, chocolates or enjoy on its own. And so much better than ready made or prepackaged ones.
Vanilla Pudding is a traditional dessert made from egg yolks, cornstarch, milk, sugar and vanilla. Some add a bit of butter, some don’t. For the egg free version, I’ve omitted eggs and instead added some cream.
How is it different from Custard?
Here, the reference is to the actual homemade custard and not the ones we make from flavored powder. Generally custard is made using egg yolks which is the main thickening agent. Also custard is set to a more firmer texture than a pudding. You may argue that many home made custard recipes call for a thicker like cornstarch. Well, this is added to quicken the whole process of making custard.
First of all, I must mention that those aromatic, floral, heavenly, with distinct flavour vanilla pods were gifted to me by my eldest son. Best ever presents for me are not diamonds, jewelry or clothes but rare and exotic ingredients and props.
Secondly, with this post I’m celebrating the birth of my second grand daughter Alya. So what better way to celebrate her birth than by using the vanilla pods gifted by her dad. Born on 2nd March, hubby and I felted sad and joyous at the same time. We had planned to be in Bali for her birth, but unfortunately Covid Pandemic has put a stop to that. Till we can travel to be with our grand daughters, we have to be content with the videos and photos that my son and daughter in law share with us daily.
Growing up, Saturdays use to be dessert day. Lunch it was something Indian like Shrikhand, lapsi, sev, and evenings it was pre- packaged Vanilla, Chocolate or ButterScotch Pudding or ice cream. The pre packaged ones were easy to make as you had to boil milk, add the powder and allow the pudding to chill and set a bit.
A grandchild is a gift from above, one to cherish and love.
While my daughter in law was pregnant, I always had one niggling thought, what if I love my second grandchild less than the first one? Hubby’s reaction to this was “Don’t be silly’. As the pregnancy grew, so did that thought. How wrong I was. The moment I saw Alda’s photo, my heart missed a beat! I wanted to hold her, hug her, feel her tiny fingers and toes, run my hands through her hair. While my elder grand daughter Lily makes us laugh and interacts with us (she’s about 1 year and 8 months), the ‘drunken’ smile and droopy eyes of Alya makes our heart flutter.
Check this post I wrote for my first grand daughter, Lily.
Vanilla Pudding for Celebration
As per tradition, any good news is celebrated with something sweet. As soon as we got the message that my daughter in law had delivered a baby girl, I put aside all the work and started making Vanilla Pudding. Wanted it to chill by evening so we could enjoy the pudding with our neighbors and celebrate.
What is Vanilla?
Did you know that vanilla is a spice and actually a flower? Belonging to the orchid family, vanilla vine grows in hot, moist, tropical areas. Native to Mexico, it is Madagascar and Indonesia that are world’s largest producers, more specially the Vanilla planifolia variety. There are three main varieties of vanilla that are grown. The word vanilla comes from the Spanish word vaina meaning little pod. Ripe pods can be dark brown to black. Each pod contains an oily liquid or paste full of tiny seeds. One flower produces one pod or fruit. Both the pod and the seeds are widely used in cooking.
How to Use Vanilla Pod?
Take one vanilla pod and place it on your chopping board. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut a slit in the middle of the pod. Using the tip of the knife, carefully scrape the tiny seeds. It will appear like a paste. Add this paste to whichever dish you want to.
When I just use the seeds, I don’t throw away the pod. I bury it in my sugar pot and you get sugar that has vanilla aroma.
In the case of Vanilla Pudding, I boiled the milk with the vanilla pod from which I had scraped off the seeds. Then I covered the pan with the milk and allowed the flavour to infuse into the milk for at least 30 minutes.Before preparing the pudding, I removed the pod.
A bit about the group
A – Z Recipe Challenge group started by fellow bloggers Vidya and Jolly, is themed based. This month we have to use any ingredient whose English name begins with the letter V. Not a wide choice of ingredients but so much better than the letter U.
Initially I had thought of using mixed vegetables to create a dish but with the birth of Alya, vanilla immediately came to my mind. Baking a vanilla cake would have been easier, but then I remembered Vanilla Pudding. I’m so glad I finally got the opportunity to make it. I would have loved to make it using egg yolks but since I had to share it with my neighbors who don’t eat eggs, I opted for the egg free version.
Check out some recipes where Ingredients beginning with V are used:
- Vegetable Kolhapuri
- Roasted vegetables With Quinoa and Cashew Hummus
- Stir Fried Vegetables with Orange Sauce
- Moroccan Vegetable Soup
- Vegetable Masala Buns
- Mum’s Vegetable Soup
- Vegetable Masala Sandwich
- Pomegranate and Vanilla Panna Cotta
- Vanilla Chia Panna Cotta
- Sweet Vermicelli/ Meethi Sev
- Ragi Vermicelli Upma
- Sheer Khurma
- Avocado Vinaigrette
Ingredients Required For Vanilla Pudding
- Milk – preferably full fat milk
- Whipping Cream – for that extra creaminess. Can replace it with half and half.
- Corn Starch – cornflour as the thickening agent
- Salt – just a pinch required to balance the taste
- Butter – unsalted. If you use salted omit adding salt.
- Sugar – according to your preference. I didn’t make mine too sweet.
- Vanilla – I used vanilla pod. If you don’t have a vanilla pod or bean then use vanilla extract, about 2 tsp.
- Topping – optional. Any of your choice, fresh fruits, dried fruits, small cookies, nuts, compote, etc.
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VANILLA PUDDING, EGG FREE
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 cups milk
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 6 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
- ⅓ -½ cup sugar
- generous pinch salt
- 2 tbsp butter softened
- Add milk into a saucepan.
- Slit the vanilla pod length wise using the tip of a sharp knife.
- Scrape the seeds out of the pod using the tip of the knife.
- Keep the vanilla seed paste on the side till required.
- Add the vanilla pod to the milk. Bring the milk to a boil.
- Take the pan off the heat. Cover the pan and allow the vanilla to infuse till the milk becomes cold.
- Remove the vanilla pod from the milk.
- Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in another heavy bottomed pan. Add the milk and whisk till combined.
- Add the cream too and whisk.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat, mixing the milk mixture constantly.
- Cook till the mixture becomes thick. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the butter till it melts. Also mix in the vanilla bean paste.
- Pour the pudding into serving bowls or glasses.
- Chill for at least 2 hours.
- Serve with your favourite topping. Can top with fresh fruit, cookies, chocolate, etc.
- If you don't have a vanilla pod, then add 2 tsp of vanilla extract once the pudding becomes thick.
- Add sugar according to your taste.
- Add any topping of your choice. Fresh fruits, cookies like ginger snaps, Oreo, chocolate, dried fruit, compote.
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