Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Preparing for Fall

We’re in the midst of one of those ‘tweener’ type seasons.  Can’t really decide if it’s summer or fall at the moment.  Our days are warm (too warm for September, in my book), but the evenings are too cool to go running around without a jacket.  Personally, I’d like to pick a season and stick with it.  Maybe I’m just looking forward to some crisp, fall weather.

With the cool temps in the evening, I got a sudden craving for warm pudding.  And since I had just bought a box of those ginger thins I so love, gingerbread pudding sounded really good.  But I had a hard time trying to find a recipe online.  Most of the recipes that came up upon Googling ‘gingerbread pudding’ were either baked, or they were more of a cake than a pudding.  I just wanted something simple to whip up on the stove.  So I decided to experiment, and you know what?  I think I got it right on the first attempt.  This is a super rich and decadent pudding, but with the hominess of spices.  It will find a place with future, more elaborate desserts, I’m sure.  But at the moment, I was content to scarf it down with some of those lovely thin cookies.

It was perfect.


Gingerbread Pudding

¾ cups whipping cream
2 ¼ cups milk (I used 2%)
1 vanilla bean pod, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped out
2” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slices
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
6 cloves
1 star anise

3 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
3 Tbs corn starch
1 tbs molasses

3 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the whipping cream, milk, vanilla bean pod AND seeds*, ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and star anise.  Heat over medium heat, just until milk starts to simmer around the edges.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 20 minutes.

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and molasses in a small bowl.  Whisk until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Slowly pour about half of the milk mixture through a sieve into the egg mixture.  Whisk thoroughly and then pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture.  Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to reach a boiling point.  Remove from heat and add butter, the vanilla extract and salt.  Stir until butter is melted.  Place a piece of wax paper directly on the pudding to keep a skin from forming and allow to cool until ready to use.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

* If your sieve has too fine of a mesh, you might want to keep the vanilla bean seeds set aside until after you've strained the milk mixture and then stir it in.

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