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Strawberry pudding

I remember going in for minor dental surgery when I was around nine years old. My two front teeth were growing in very crooked and it was determined that my frenulum (connective tissue between the upper lip and gum) needed to be cut. I had to be put under general anesthesia for the procedure, which meant I had to fast.

On the ride home, I was groggy and starving. My mom bought me a Nesquick Strawberry milk and It. Was. Heaven. Ever since then, strawberry flavored desserts are one of my very favorite.

Today, I wanted to make strawberry pudding, without artificial strawberry flavoring. Freeze dried strawberries worked for my cake and my frosting, and I had extra left over, so I decided to experiment. To call it a success would be an understatement. It is delicious; full of strawberries, creamy and smooth. Yum! Serve it with some fresh strawberries if you feel so inclined, or just eat it in big spoonfuls out of the fridge.

1 1/2 cups freeze dried strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons tapioca starch
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon butter

In a food processor, add the freeze dried strawberries and process into a fine powder. Add the sugar, eggs, tapioca starch and process until smooth.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a large saucepan until simmering. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the food processor while running the machine. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter. Refrigerate until cold or eat right away. If you choose to chill the pudding, place plastic wrap touching the pudding surface to prevent a skin from forming. 


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