There is something so homey and comforting about pudding, isn't there? I, like most kids, grew up eating my fair share of the boxed kind, but in the last few years, I realized how easy it is to make my own. Taking an extra few minutes to make pudding from scratch turns what would be a blah "filler" dessert into something luxurious and creamy. Pudding recipes mainly start with the same basic concept of making a custard by mixing milk, sugar, and egg yolks and simmering them until they thicken, and then adding your flavoring. You definitely want to use milk with some fat in it which will help the pudding to thicken-- I like to make mine with whole milk. I've never tried to make pudding with anything else, but I wouldn't try this with skim milk as I imagine it would be quite runny.
I recently had a lot of lemons and milk that I needed to use up and thought that lemon pudding sounded like a great idea-- a nice bright sunshiny dessert in dreary February. I made this in the middle of the week, and it came together in about 30 minutes (not including the chill time) which makes this a nice weeknight dessert option. You can serve this with angel food cake or with fresh berries. I think it would also be nice with some gingersnaps on the side.
6 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tbs. finely grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
3 1/2 cups milk (use whole milk)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs. powdered sugar
1. In a medium saucepan (off heat), whisk yolks, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt, and 1/2 cup of the milk until completely smooth; gradually whisk in remaining 3 cups of milk.
2. Place saucepan over medium heat; bring to a gentle simmer, whisking occasionally (mixture will thicken when it reaches a simmer). Remove from heat; whisk in lemon juice.
3. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Divide evenly among serving dishes; refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled about 1 1/2 hours. (To store overnight, cover dishes tightly with plastic once pudding has chilled).
4. To serve, whip cream with 2 tbs. of powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spoon over puddings. Garnish with extra lemon zest if desired.
Adapted from marthastewart.com