White Chocolate Cinnamon Pudding w/ Blueberry Curd (GF)
Time to admit something: while I fancy myself a dessert snob in most areas, there are a few situations when all I want is an Oreo or soft serve ice cream or Jello pudding (y’know, this one, that every kid -except for yours truly- got in their lunch box in elementary school). Honestly, whenever someone offers me any of the aforementioned desserts they instantly become my best friend. Especially if there’s Skippy peanut butter involved (yet another schoolyard chemically altered delight of which I was deprived growing up). But it’s weird, because if you tried to get me to eat Chips Ahoy or a Twinkie for dessert I’d likely scoff loudly and uncontrollably and hurt your feelings. That’s actually a lie. I’d probably eat them happily because, come on, you just offered me dessert for no reason, you’re probably a really nice person. But I digress. The point of this little paragraph is that I was at the grocery store recently and was presented with a choice: to buy the Jello pudding snack packs or not to buy the Jello pudding snack packs. I actually had them in my cart for an aisle or two, but then had a change of heart and decided I would make pudding myself. But a fruity version because it is summer after all, so why not take advantage of fresh berries? Mathematically speaking, the price of one 6-pack of packaged chocolate-and-vanilla swirly goodness was a little bit less than buying blueberries and white chocolate chips* and milk, but I think it’s safe to say this pudding was worth it.
*A note on white chocolate: I am not a fan. Not at all. It’s chocolate for people who don’t like chocolate. It is a lie. It is an impostor. BUT for some reason, when added to vanilla pudding it really works wonders. Because it’s essentially all cocoa butter, it creates a wonderfully creamy texture and more richly flavored pudding. And all this is achieved without butter- imagine that!
Pudding (both recipes adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. 2% milk
1/4 c. half and half
4 1/2 oz white chocolate (I used chips, you can use whatever floats your boat)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt in the top of a double boiler (I use a glass bowl over a saucepan). Before placing over water, whisk in the milk and the half and half until all ingredients are incorporated. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk occasionally. After 15-20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon add the chocolate. Continue stirring until the pudding is smooth and thick. If it’s not cooperating with you (like it did to me), transfer the pudding from the double boiler to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick. Remove from heat and add vanilla and cinnamon. Strain if you’re looking for a silky smooth texture or simply pour into individual serving dishes. Chill in fridge while you make the blueberry curd.
1/2 c. blueberries (or, honestly, any berry your heart desires)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Purée berries in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Strain the berries until you get about 3-4 tablespoons of purée. Whisk together berries and all other ingredients except the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the butter and cook over medium low heat, whisking frequently until the mixture begins to bubble. Strain again if you so choose, or simply divide evenly over the prepared pudding cups. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about an hour. Before serving, top with fresh blueberries (or any other berry/fruit).