Now that it’s summer, the idea of turning on the oven is simply unbearable. With no air conditioning and an oven door that doesn’t exactly close, baking equals sauna, and we simply can’t have any of that.
The heat may steer me away from baking, but not away from my love for making desserts. No oven relegated me to the realm of frozen yogurts and puddings, both of which are superb summer treats. Both take a bit of chilling and patience after you make them, but then there are several cool servings waiting for you after a sweltering day.
Topped with a blueberry sauce, the pudding verges on elegant, however, you could easily add freshstrawberries or nothing at all. Instead of using all sugar, I opted for maple syrup, which works very nicely with the blueberry sauce. However, you can just up the sugar to 2/3 cup if you’d rather an all-sugar pudding.
If you use a real vanilla bean, do not discard it after flavoring the milk! Make Vanilla Sugar for the next time you need a boost of real vanilla flavor. To make vanilla sugar, rinse the pod lightly after it dries, and combine in a jar with sugar. Shake to cover the pod and let sit, shaking occasionally, to encourage the flavors to fuse.
Adapted from the Minimalist
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup blueberries
To Make Blueberry Sauce:
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add blueberries and cook until they are just bursting and releasing juice, about 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon over pudding while warm.
To Make Pudding:
1. 2 cups of the milk, sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a medium saucepot over medium-low heat. If using a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into milk using small sharp knife, then add pod. Cook just until mixture begins to steam.
2. Combine cornstarch and remaining milk in a bowl and blend; there should be no lumps. Remove the vanilla pod from the pot, and set aside to dry for the vanilla sugar. Add cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to very low and stir for 5 minutes or so, until thick. Stir in vanilla extract, if using.
3. Pour mixture into a 1-quart dish or 4 to 6 small ramekins or bowls. Put plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent formation of a skin, or do not cover if you like skin. Refrigerate until chilled, and serve within a day.