Make Dessert From Scratch: 8 Homemade Puddings

The packet of Jello-O pudding mix has a place in your cupboard. As a shortcut for getting moist, richly flavored cakes and cupcakes, it can’t be beat. But for these recipes, that box is going to stay up on that shelf. When you’re craving a rich, creamy, flavorful pudding, try making the whole dessert from scratch with any of these 8 recipes.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Vanilla Pudding

Kicking things off with the basics, Chow‘s vanilla pudding is easy and you might have all the ingredients already sitting in your kitchen. Use crumbled cookies, toasted nuts, or toffee to add texture if desired.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • 2¼ cups whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions: Place a mesh strainer over a 4-cup measuring cup or bowl with a spout and set aside. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk until incorporated. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of the milk until smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks and remaining milk.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking often, until the pudding begins to thicken and just starts to bubble, about 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and switch to a rubber spatula. Stir constantly, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, until the pudding makes visible ribbons when drizzled over the surface, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract until the butter is melted and completely incorporated. Pour the pudding through the prepared strainer. Immediately transfer it to 4 (4-ounce) ramekins or resealable containers. Lightly press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 2 hours.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Double Chocolate Pudding

Regular chocolate pudding not cutting it for you? Try Richard Sax’s recipe from Food & Wine for an intensely chocolaty pudding. To get the best results, find the highest qualities of cocoa powder and chocolate available at your grocery store.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lightly whipped cream, for serving

Directions: In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the unsweetened cocoa powder and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until blended. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk this mixture into the hot milk in the saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the whole egg with the egg yolks. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot cocoa pudding into the eggs until thoroughly incorporated, then scrape the pudding back into the saucepan. Cook the pudding over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until it just comes to boil, about 2 minutes.

Strain the pudding into a medium heatproof bowl. Add the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla and whisk until the chocolate and butter are melted and incorporated and the pudding is smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pudding to six 6-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until chilled. (If you’re not in a hurry, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding in the bowl and refrigerate.) Serve with lightly whipped cream.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding

Almost as classic as the pairing of peanut butter and jelly is the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Instead of doubling up on chocolate, you can use this duo to put a new spin on chocolate pudding, adding peanut butter, like Cooking Light did.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
  • 1½ cups 1 percent low-fat milk
  • ½ cup light cream
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Directions: Combine sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk. Whisk in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 1 minute or until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1/3 cup pudding into each of 6 bowls. Top each serving with 1/2 teaspoon peanuts.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Burnt Caramel Pudding

Why settle for caramel pudding when you could have burnt caramel pudding? From Epicurious this recipe set out to replicate Toscanini’s burnt caramel ice cream in a pudding.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • Fine sea salt
  • Whipped cream for serving

Directions: Heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream; toss the scraped pod in there too. Turn the heat to low to gently warm the cream.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Pour the remaining sugar and the 1½ tablespoons of water into a heavy bottomed saucepan, set over medium heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then crank the heat to high and let the liquid bubble away — don’t stir, just swirl the pan occasionally — until it turns dark amber. This takes about 4 minutes, but watch closely, because it happens fast. Reduce the heat to medium.

Moving quickly, fish the vanilla pod out of the cream (rinse it and save for another use) and slowly stir the warm cream into the caramel. Once it comes to a boil (this will happen fast), remove from the heat and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks with the reserved sugar and a pinch of sea salt in a medium bowl. Whisk a little of the cream-caramel mixture into the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in the rest until it’s all incorporated.

Strain the mixture into a pitcher or large measuring cup and pour it into four 6-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a shallow baking pan filled halfway with cold water. If you like your caramel a bit salty, like me, sprinkle a few grains of sea salt on top of each pudding. Cook for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until just set.

Chill the puddings for at least 3 hours or overnight. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

Bon Appétit knows that sometimes, dessert calls for a little pick-me-up. You can add bourbon or scotch to this butterscotch pudding recipe. Top your puddings off with a dollop of whipped cream, or sprinkle crushed pecans on top.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or Scotch
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoon sugar

Directions: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter begins to brown and smell nutty, about 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is starting to dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add cream, milk, bourbon, and salt; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually add hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Wipe out saucepan. Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until custard bubbles occasionally and starts to thicken, 5–6 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender. Blend briefly on low speed until smooth. Place ramekins or bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide custard evenly among ramekins and chill until set, at least 3 hours.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

A second boozy pudding option comes courtesy of Tish Boyle and the Food Network. Rice pudding can be tricky to make. To get the best version of any rice pudding possible, check out the hints and tips Fine Cooking has compiled.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 2¾ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup half-and-half, plus ½ cup more
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions: In small non-stick saucepan, combine the raisins and rum and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep while you make the pudding.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the milk, rice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, 1 cup of the half-and-half. Cook over medium heat until the milk mixture comes to a gentle boil. Stir the mixture, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and much of the liquid is absorbed.

In a small bowl, place the cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the remaining ½ cup half-and-half until smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks. Whisk about ½ cup of the hot rice mixture into the yolk mixture. Return this mixture to the pudding in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture just starts to bubble. Continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add the vanilla to the rum-raisin mixture, and stir the mixture into the rice pudding. Divide the pudding among 6 sundae glasses, cover with plastic wrap (unless you want a skin to form), pressing it directly onto the surface of the pudding, and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until well chilled.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

7. Cinnamon Rice Pudding

For a non-boozed up rice pudding, AllRecipes.com has this cinnamon rice pudding. If you think your raisins need to be a bit plumper, SeattlePI says to place the dry raisins in a bowl, and pour boiling water overtop. After about 15 minutes, drain the water and pat the raisins dry.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅔ cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Bring 1½ cups water to a boil in a saucepan; stir rice into boiling water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. In a clean saucepan, combine 1½ cups cooked rice, 1½ cups milk, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining ½ cup milk, beaten egg, and raisins; cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

8. Caramelized Banana Pudding

Southern Living took banana pudding and added a new element by caramelizing the fruit instead of just slicing it up and forming layers for the dessert. Plus, you don’t have to let it cool for hours in the fridge, cutting down on the amount of time you have to wait before you can enjoy your pudding.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 48 vanilla wafers

Directions: Cook first 3 ingredients in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly. Add bananas; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat.

Whisk together ¾ cup granulated sugar, next 3 ingredients, and 4 egg yolks in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until a pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.

Divide half of banana mixture, pudding, and wafers among 8 (1-cup) ramekins or ovenproof glass dishes. Layer with remaining banana mixture, pudding, and vanilla wafers. Beat 4 egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes.)

Spread meringue over ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until meringue is golden. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes.

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