One of those grey, marshmellow days welcomes November and Daylight Savings, which is very inviting after last night’s celebration. We’re both prone on the couch, swaddled in fleece, laptops propped, comfort food streaming from the kitchen. When I was a little girl, my mom used to perk me up with vanilla pudding made from cornstarch. It was an old recipe found on the box, and to make it even more retro, she would top the slightly chilled pudding with a fruit cocktail, one of those old-fashioned canned concoctions with one ruby-dyed cherry (two if you were lucky). Bizarre that I thought of it today after all these years—DC’s fall drearies seem to uncannily remind me of home—but fortuitous, as I was sunnied from the first jiggly spoonful.
Here’s the recipe. It’s simple and you surely have everything you need already.
1. In a medium sauce pan, mix one cup sugar, three tablespoons cornstarch, and one-quarter teaspoon of salt. Next, add two cups of milk, by first adding a quarter cup and dissolving the dry ingredients to form a smooth paste and then adding the other cup and a half of milk.
2. Separate two eggs, beat the yolks for a second or two, and then add the yolks to the milk mixture and incorporate. Next, bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Allow to boil, stirring constantly, for one minute.
3. Turn off the heat and swirl in one and a quarter teaspoons of good vanilla. Immediately pour pudding into several dessert bowls or one big one and refrigerate. After thirty minutes, it will have formed a thin skin on top but the middle will still be warm and this is how I prefer it, but it is excellent completely chilled as well. If you don’t keep little cans of fruit cocktail on hand like my mom did, just snowflake a little powdered sugar on top, or drizzle some chocolate syrup, to garnish.
Old-fashioned cornstarch pudding, to warm the spirits. Enjoy!