So, I actually prefer vanilla flavors over chocolate, but it seems like chocolate usually dominates, and it is also admittedly tricky to find really great vanilla flavors that don’t rely heavily on processed-typed additives. So, I actually haven’t ever found a vanilla pudding that I loved, even though I have many chocolate or butterscotch recipes that are terrific. Needless to say, I was thrilled to try and love this recipe from a sweet Chronicle cookbook called Puddin’ by Clio Goodman, based on a cafe of sorts (i’m guessing) in NYC. This is a great recipe, and yes, we did put salted caramel sauce on top of it!
2 1/2 c. whole milk
2 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out and reserved
1 c. sugar
6 T. cornstarch
6 egg yolks (for something to do with the whites, try macarons!)
1/4 t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and vanilla bean and seeds until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat and allow to steep 30 minutes. Chill completely in fridge, 1-2 hours. (I skipped the fridge part, being impatient.)
Add sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt to saucepan and whisk vigorously.
Place pot over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to thicken, 5-6 minutes. (Once you can lift the whisk from the pudding and it leaves a faint shadow, it’s done. Pudding will seem fairly loose, but it will thicken up further as it chills.)
Strain the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing pudding through sieve with a silicone spatula. Whisk in vanilla extract.
Cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, press a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding, and chill completely in fridge, 2 hours.