Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eating Omily: Pumpkin Spice Pudding, Please!

Ok guys, I know...this was due weeks ago, and you probably thought I would never get to it...but I did!  It just took some doing to get the recipe right, but lucky for you this one is fool-proof!  It even works if you leave it on the heat unattended till it burns all to hell on the bottom and you're still trying to scrub the pan clean a week later, and the resulting pudding tastes a bit like roasted marshmallows...NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.


Here's how it goes:

Start by roasting a winter squash, whatever kind you like to work with best.  Puree the tender flesh, and set aside.

Then, gather up milk (from local pastured cows not given antibiotics, hormones, or homogenized as you value your health, come on guys), three eggs, sweetener (I used mostly maple syrup and a little granulated sugar to help dissolve the cornstarch), corn starch, butter (same conditions as above), vanilla extract, salt, and your favourite autumnal spices.

Whisk together 1/3 cup granulated sweetener (if using; I used a little white sugar just in case not using any would mess up the slurry I was making), 2 Tablespoons corn starch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan.

While whisking continuously, whisk in 1/4 cup of cold milk until the mixture is smooth, and all the cornstarch is incorporated. Be patient.  THEN, whisk in two more cups of milk, and any liquid sweeteners you're using.

Cook the mixture over medium heat until it's steaming hot, but not bubbling. Stir it the whole time.  Not every second, but close.  Meanwhile, separate your eggs. Put the whites away for another use, and put the yolks in a small bowl or cup. Whisking the egg yolks constantly, add a little of the hot milk mixture at a time until the bowl the eggs are in feels warm to the touch. This is called tempering the eggs.  Think of it like when you run a bath for yourself, and it's too hot, so you do that silly dance of lowering in just a bit at a time. If you don't do this, you'll have thickened sweet milk with scrambled eggs floating in it.  Not as good.
Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot on the stove, whisk until incorporated, whisk in your spice choices (enough to make it smell amazing) and then, switch utensils to a spatula, or something with a flat edge so you can thoroughly scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as you stir.  As the mixture continues to heat up, it'll hit a magic temperature and start to...well, pud.  Once it starts pudding, keep stirring, but start checking for thickness.  You want to be able to dribble a ribbon of pudding off of the spoon back into the pot, and have it sit up on top of the pudding before dissolving back in.  Don't worry if that still seems thin; it'll set up much more as it cools.

Once this happens, turn off the heat, and whisk in 3 Tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. If you don't trust your egg tempering, you can strain the pudding to remove any scrambled egg bits.  Put it in a bowl, press plastic wrap down onto the surface (or just put a lid on if you like eating the pudding skin off the top of the bowl; I won't tell anyone. I wouldn't know anything about this either, by the way), and pop it in the fridge, NOT on a glass shelf if the bowl is still hot, and no, I WOULDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT, EITHER.
When the pudding is chilled and set, you have some options: I layered the squash puree with pudding on top, and added a sprinkling of home-made pumpkin spice granola (recipe from Candice Kumai's awesome book, Cook Yourself Sexy).  In subsequent servings, I stirred the puree into the pudding so the two flavors could meld instead of being layered.  You could layer it in parfait glasses with gingersnaps and whipped cream (shut up, I am so doing that next time), bake merengue cookies with your eggwhites, and top the pudding with those...all kinds of pretty presentations!

Nom nom nom...get your Pumpkin Spice on!

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