Instant pudding brags that only five minutes will get you the "homemade" pudding you crave. Ignore the marketing and make real homemade pudding in nearly as short an amount of time.
This basic, old-fashioned pudding has the benefit of being entirely natural, with no artificial thickeners or flavorings, and you can make it as sweet or warm as you like. And you can even eat it with skin on top, if that's the way you like it! All you need is a little milk, cornstarch, and sugar.
We just use vanilla to flavor this. Use real vanilla, or steep a vanilla bean in the milk before making the pudding. We also love lemon pudding - add finely grated zest from one lemon into the pudding with the cornstarch.
about four cups
4 cups whole milk (or cream if you're feeling indulgent!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Whisk the sugar into the milk and warm over low heat, stirring constantly. When bubbles appear around the edges, ladle a cup of the milk into a bowl with the cornstarch and beat the whisk until smooth.
Add cornstarch mixture back into the saucepan of milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.
Turn the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot loosely. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Let cool slightly before eating.
Other flavoring options: Add another essential oil, like orange or lemon, or add lemon or orange zest.
&bull D.I.Y. Chocolate Pudding
&bull Laurie Colwin and Jane Grigson's Lemon Rice Pudding