Pudding is one of my all time favorite desserts (or breakfasts for that matter) so I was beyond happy when my baby consented to nap while I whipped up this quick treat. I'll admit I used to wonder what the point was in making pudding when the boxed stuff tastes so good. I really do still like Jello Vanilla Pudding. I've become a believer, though. It's also pretty simple to make this delicious pastry cream and gets quicker and easier every time. I skipped the food processor for the sake of dishes, opting for the sieve instead. It came out great and really, it's easy enough that you should try it. I'm guessing you have the ingredients on hand right now. And writing about the process is making me want to whip up some more. It's that delicious (and simple!)
This pudding is so good that I feel like calling it pudding isn't enough. It's more than a regular vanilla pudding- it has a surprise chocolate layer, it's silky smooth, and with a few changes, I don't even feel that bad eating it. I replaced the whole milk with 2 percent, used "cashew cream" in the ganache (a mixture of raw cashews and water, blended until it resembles heavy cream), and omitted part of the butter. You won't notice the changes but I think you'll enjoy this delicious and easy dessert- with less guilt. Even so, I did feel a little guilty eating the extra pudding for breakfast. But sometimes you need something quick, you know? And with my little red ramekin was staring at me from the fridge, I went for it.
So this brings me to the giveaway from MyBlogSpark. These Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters are delicious and come in a flavor everyone will like. My husband loves these and that's a pretty glowing review since he's a serious snacker. This prize includes all the flavors of nut clusters (the roasted peanut is my favorite) and a few other goodies (you can bet my son already grabbed that flashlight and is napping with it as I type this!) If you'd like to try these, you can grab a coupon here.
To enter, leave a comment letting me know what your favorite snack is- be it pudding or something else. I won't judge (and I could use some ideas- my hands are full a lot lately and my tall man's stomach is always rumbling!)
Giveaway will end Sunday night (10/11/09) at midnight, AZ time. I'll randomly choose one winner (US residents only for shipping purposes). Please make sure you're profile is linked to your blog or email or something so I can get a hold of you!
'Lighter' Split Level Pudding
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
For the chocolate layer:
2 ounces of bitter sweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream (or cashew cream, see below)
Bring the cream to a boil, pour over chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Stir gently to blend and divide mixture between the pudding cups. Set aside.
For the vanilla layer:
2 1/4 cups 2% milk
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a glass measuring cup, boil the milk in the microwave. Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Whisk until combined. After the milk boils, slowly pour a small amount into the saucepan while whisking. Continue whisking and drizzle in the rest of the milk. Once thoroughly combined, place over medium heat and keep whisking until the pudding thickens and starts to bubble (two or three minutes).
Mix in the vanilla and then whisk in the butter. Scrape the pudding into a sieve and push through to catch any lumps, or pulse in the food processor if desired. Divide the pudding over the chocolate filled ramekins, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate a couple hours (or enjoy warm- that's delicious too!)
Cashew Cream (adapted from Enlightened Cooking)
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup cold water
Place the nuts and cold water in a blender and blend at high speed for 2 minutes. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides. Blend at least 1-2 minutes longer until the mixture is smooth (mixture will be very thick; add 1-2 additional tablespoons water, if needed, to blend until smooth).
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a metal or glass bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and cool slightly. Stir in cashew cream until well-blended.