I loooove pudding…well…actually I looooove custard. Or maybe I loooove both? For a long time I had no idea what the difference was so my love was based on love of any creamy pudding/custard like thing regardless of how it’s packaged. In cream puffs, in eclairs, in a bowl….I don’t care, sweet and creamy and all yummy.
As I got a little older it occurred to me that I should learn the difference, so now I’ll share what I learned.
Both of these dishes are generally milk based (though you can substitute soy milk, coconut and almond milk with a few modifications), but pudding versus custard all comes down to thickening. If you thicken only with a dry thickener (cornstarch or flour) it’s a pudding. If you use eggs or a combination of eggs and a dry thickener it’s a custard. Puddings can be either cooked or instant, but custards require cooking to activate the thickening properties of the eggs.
See? Isn’t that cool?
So when we’re using Ultra Gel and Thick Gel we can make either puddings or custards, but I figure if I’m going to use heat anyway I’ll always go for the addition of eggs as I love the flavor. So in my kitchen instant quick mix is pudding and cooked always equals custard. So here’s a recipe for each and we’ll talk about ways to change up the flavors soon…but, as Alton Brown says…That’s another blog.
((Bah…can’t find the picture. Will post it up as soon as it comes forth from silly camera.))
Instant Ultra Gel Pudding
1 c. milk
3 T. sugar
3 T. ULTRA GEL
1 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
Combine first three ingredients with wire whisk. Add vanilla and stir until smooth. Serve warm or cool.
¾ c. sugar
5 Tbl Thick Gel (8 Tbl Ultra Gel)
½ tsp salt
3 c. milk
2 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla
2 Tbl butter
Combine sugar, Thick Gel and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in milk until smooth and cook over medium heat to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir egg yolks just until blended. Add a small amount of hot milk mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly, then gradually add egg yolk mixture to hot mixture, stirring well. Return to heat and bring almost to a boil. Do not allow to boil as scorching may occur. Stir in vanilla and butter.
Pour into glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap lightly touching the surface to prevent skin. Refrigerate until serving.