Vanilla pudding is anything but plain. Creamy, rich, indulgent, and flavored with fragrant vanilla, it is the ultimate comfort food and sophisticated dessert. I highly recommend using a vanilla bean in this recipe; the tiny little seeds burst in your mouth as you eat it with a vanilla flavor that dwarfs anything an extract can produce. Additionally, you can use the pod to make vanilla sugar, which you may notice that I love to use in my recipes.
This recipe comes together in a matter of minutes; I think it is as easy to make as vanilla pudding from a package, but the flavor and texture is infinitely superior. I like to eat my puddings warm, but it is also delightful after being chilled. Either way you like it, enjoy!
2 cups of whole milk
1/2 cup light cream
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan. If using, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrap out the seeds with the back of a knife. Add the seeds and pod to the cream and milk mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the three egg yolks and whisk them into the dry ingredients until you have a thick paste.
When your milk mixture is simmering, ladle about a 1/4 cup of it into your egg yolk paste. Mix the ladled milk and paste together well. Repeat another 2 times. This is called tempering, where you slowly raise the temperature of your egg mixture to avoid scrambling your yolks. Add the tempered egg yolk mixture to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture. Turn the heat to low, and whisk continuously until your mixture becomes thick.
Add the tablespoon of butter and vanilla extract, if using. Mix well to combine. Pass the whole mixture through a sieve to remove the vanilla bean and any lumps that may have formed. Enjoy immediately, or put into a container to chill. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of your pudding to avoid the formation of a skin.
To make vanilla sugar: Rinse your vanilla pod and let dry. In an airtight container, add sugar and the vanilla bean. After a few days, the vanilla bean will have permeated the sugar and you will have vanilla sugar!