Cornstarch puddings are the easiest and quickest puddings to make — it takes 15 minutes. It tastes so much better than pudding mixes! Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never want to use a boxed pudding mix again!
It can even be made sugar and dairy free!
You can make them in an heavy bottomed saucepan without even having to use a double boiler — although you can use a double boiler if you prefer.
You have complete control over the thickness and the sweetness, as well as potency and type of flavoring.
Also, referred to as blancmange, it was not an unusual practice in days of old to make cornstarch pudding into a very thick, slice-able loaf so that a slice could be wrapped up in a cloth handkerchief or cloth to carry to work or school — the original snack pack and carry along pudding.
To make the pudding even thicker simply use more cornstarch and to make the pudding thinner simply use more milk.
Adjust the sweetness and flavors to taste.
You can make it thicker and pour into a pre-baked crust, cool at room temperature, chill for 2 to 4 hours, and just before serving top with whipped cream for a wonderful homemade pudding pie or tart.
You always begin with the basic vanilla pudding recipe and then if desired add any addition flavoring you’d like to the milk prior to cooking — chocolate (cocoa powder, syrup, or melted), banana (a combination of well mashed and sliced bananas), spiced (cinnamon, allspice, clove, rosemary, jasmine, and so on), butterscotch (melted butterscotch chips), peanut or nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, pecan butter, walnut butter, and so on), or add any natural flavoring extracts.
Just remember not to add anything that could curdle the milk such as lemon or other citrus juices — save those for custards. Yes, you could a use an artificial citrus flavoring — but I like to steer clear of anything “artificial”.
Additional Flavoring Tips:
If making banana pudding, whisk the mashed/puree banana (1 to 3 depending upon the size and potency of flavor desired) into the milk before heating.
Soak banana slices in lemon juice coating both sides for 30 to 60 seconds, give a quick rinse to remove the citrus juice, and drain dry well on and pat dry with paper towels. Fold them in after the fully cooked pudding has just been removed from the heat or arrange decoratively however you’d like. This will keep them from oxidizing and turning dark in color too quickly. Or, simply add fresh slices right before serving.
For coconut pudding, add shredded coconut to either coconut or regular milk before cooking. For best flavor chill the finished pudding overnight.
For nut flavors, add the nut butter to the milk prior to cooking and if desired add crushed, halved, chipped, or slivered nuts on top to serve.
If plan on using buttermilk, then use real buttermilk, and do not try to use a substitute made up citrus juice or vinegar with regular milk or cream!
Any milk at all will do including evaporated milk, half n half, heavy cream, or even a dairy substitute such as almond or coconut milk.
You may sweeten with sucralose, molasses, honey, maple syrup, or any other sweetener at all.
Just be sure not to use any zero calorie artificial sweeteners which should not be exposed to heat or cooked with.
“Granulated sucralose” is currently the ONLY “zero calorie” substitute known/proven in repeated large scale studies to be safe for use in cooking and baking up to 450 F degrees. (This applies only to the granulated form — not the powder that comes in little individual packets).
Basic Vanilla Cornstarch Pudding
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons (or to taste) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups milk
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Warm the milk and vanilla (or you can make the pudding and stir in the vanilla afterwards when it is just removed it from the heat if preferred) in a heavy bottomed saucepan (or use double boiler if preferred). When it is warm but not hot, whisk in the dry ingredient mixture.
Whisk continuously on low heat for 15 minutes to allow the cornstarch flavor to fully disappear and to allow the pudding to slowly thicken.
Pour into serving dish or dishes. May be eaten warm or cold.