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My niece Sadie, third generation pudding lover, who knows to keep blowing and eat it warm! (See her savor it below.)
I come by pudding adoration naturally. It’s a staple at my mom’s house. So much so that when I asked my young daughter for the reasons she loved her grandma, pudding came near the top of the list.
For me, the only way to savor pudding is warm, especially up here in the North, where it is still endlessly white. And this pudding cheers our long evenings, especially when paired with a Cary Grant movie or candlelight and a little Erik Satie.
The recipe was adapted from my pal Carol Durst’s excellent easy baking book, I Know Your Were Coming So I Baked a Cake. There is a maple variation below. Serves 1 pudding lover or 2 average eaters, easily multiplied.
1 cup milk*
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar (or 2 Tbs sugar + 2 Tbs maple syrup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon butter*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Procedure for microwave or stovetop —
1-Pour the milk into a 2-cup Pyrex measure or medium non-stick pan, and add the cornstarch, sugar (or sugar and maple syrup) and salt. Stir to dissolve.
2-Microwave on high or simmer for 2-3 minutes, or set the pot on medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until the milk is beginning to thicken. The mixture must boil to cook the cornstarch, but watch carefully and to be sure it doesn’t boil over. Stir it down after this heating.
3-Put the egg yolk in a small ceramic bowl or 1 cup Pyrex measure. Slowly pour or ladle about half the milk mixture in, while mixing the egg with the folk. (This tempers the egg, to avoid making scrambled eggs.)
4-Return the egg-milk mixture to the rest of hot milk, stirring with a fork as you pour. Microwave on High for 1-2 minutes, or return to the stove and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, at least 5 minutes.
5-If using the microwave, stir in the butter and vanilla into the pudding. For the saucepan, wait for bubbles to appear around your pan before adding the butter. Pour into serving dishes and enjoy warm.
Maple Variation: Replace the sugar with 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Omit the vanilla or add 1/2.
*A lighter version: Even though I’m finally starting to take off the 8 pounds a decade I’ve gained since 20, I still insist on eating well. So here’s a lower fat and calorie version of this recipe still rocks: Use low fat or even non-fat milk and omit the butter. (Or add 1 teaspoon of butter, which is my preference.)
Where did the ingredients come from?
This recipe uses: Highlawn Farm milk and Ronnybrook Farm butter, North Plain Farm eggs, Ioka Valley Farm maple syrup or the fabulous Baldwin’s Vanilla, which has been made since the 1880′s in my home town of West Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
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Recipes for Maple Syrup
Read about maple syrup and local food in general in rural New England right down the block from me,’18-’33.
More About Maple Syrup
Excerpted from my last book, The Locavore Way, a comprehensive guide to seeking out and savoring local food.
Maple syrup is produced in northern climates, mostly Canada and the United States, by reducing sap to syrup by boiling off the water.
Traditionally, maple syrup is made in a sugar house (or shack), during sugaring season in the late nights are followed by daytime temperatures that rise above 40°F. Tapping for maple sap, however, is generally done only in the spring when the weather is more predictable and the sap’s sugar content is high. (The proportion of sap to syrup runs around 40 to 1.)
When shopping, carefully read labels, looking for local or regional farm locations. Quite often, even here in maple country, stores stock syrup from far away even when syrup is being manufactured close by. Some farms sell right off their property. If you have a chance, be sure to visit one during the season. (Mine, Ioka Valley Farm, sells pancakes, too.) Or tap your own maple trees to make syrup with simple equipment bought at your hardware store or online. Maple syrup comes in two grades: try both the lighter A grade and the less expensive, more maple flavored B. If there are no maple trees near you, there’s no local maple syrup!