Pudding in the US is the quintessential nursery treat--this simple milk-based dessert, rarely deviating from chocolate, vanilla or butterscotch flavors epitomizes comfort food. In the UK, however, a pudding is a hearty and hale dessert usually served warm with lashings of milky hot custard. Think Bread-and-Butter Pudding, Queen of Puddings, Treacle Sponge Pudding and believe it or not a traditional pudding called Spotted Dick (don't ask...). But being the American half of Philly Food Lovers, I'm here to talk about the stateside version.
Let's start by bashing the notion that puddings are a lesser form of dessert. Sneer all you want, but have you eaten a real homemade version lately? I make butterscotch pudding often--sometimes for a casual family night, served in our kitchen cereal bowls with no fanfare. Other times, it tops off formal dinner--served in parfait glasses with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a silver spoon it screams elegance.
But maybe you still think pudding simply isn't your type of dessert. I'm not giving up. Consider this spectacular lemon pudding souffle. Through the whipping of egg whites, the alchemy of baking and the gentle caress of a water bath, this recipe turns out a half chiffon, half lemon pudding that is the perfect end to any meal.
The only downside is that it must be made in single batch sizes because of the water bath and heat distribution, so it really only serves 4. For a larger crowd you'd have to make several. I have yet to try it with other flavors, but I am confident that it would be glorious with vanilla, chocolate, orange, lime, or ginger. Stay tuned....
And finally, I offer you another variation on this theme: apple rice pudding. I conjured this up as a way to use leftover Basmati rice:
1 cup heavy cream
1 apple, peeled and grated
4 TBSP sugar
1 tsp vanilla
a sprinkle of cinnamon
3 cups cooked rice
Whip cream, and blend with all remaining ingredients. Serve chilled.
Still not sold on pudding? Wait til our chocolate feature, coming next month. Our chocolate pudding will change your opinion, if not your life.