10 December 2010

I've stumbled upon this really cool pudding recipe...

I know... most people don't get too excited about making pudding. Especially from scratch. But...

I can't go out and buy an instant pudding mix (although that might be changing) and I'd never really been successful at the cook and serve mixes back in the States before...

So the thought of making pudding, from scratch, has always been intimidating...

I've always circumnavigated the issue in the past. We've had a lady working for us, an amazing cook who can make just about any recipe you hand her work... I'd have her make the pudding and put it in the fridge and we'd eat it or I'd have it for whatever recipe I wanted to use it in.

But this term, I don't have that option...

And then, I came across "this" recipe:  Pumpkin Trifle. I love butterscotch pudding... I love anything with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices in it... trifles are just so pretty to serve but relatively easy to assemble... and I really wanted to try something different this Thanksgiving...

Pumpkin trifle

Boston Creme donuts
 I had to try it out, so that meant learning to make pudding, from scratch, all by myself. I must confess - I practiced a few times first, making chocolate pudding. I figured the chocolate would cover any scorching of the milk I might do (that was always my problem with the cook and serve variety). I also did something else I rarely do - follow a recipe precisely and exactly - even down to the amount of time cooking and how much of that time I was supposed to stand there stirring. And... IT. WORKED!! I've even replicated the effort... several times... in several different recipes. Some I've even documented with photos!

And then, in this pudding making craze, I discovered something really cool concerning chocolate pudding pies we made for Mary Michelle's birthday. I'd used up all my eggs... the food budget for the week was finished... but I still wanted to make chocolate pudding pies for M&M's birthday. I began searching for an eggless pudding recipe. I found one and figured I had to try it. It worked beautifully and was oh so yummy!

Chocolate Creme pie

Unfortunately, my whipping creme wasn't so cooperative. After much persuasion, I finally convinced it to  sort of work, but as soon as it came out of the fridge, it started "melting." Thus, after serving the pie, I immediately stuck what was left in the freezer.

And pulled it out the next morning as a mid morning snack for Tim, Nadia and the two little girls. You know what? That chocolate pudding tasted like a fabulous chocolate ice cream. Here it is... just in case you wanted to try it:

Eggless Chocolate Pudding:
3 Tbsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 C half and half
1 1/4 C milk
1 C sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vanilla

Mix together cornstarch, cocoa, salt and sugar in a saucepan. Pour in already mixed half and half and milk. Stir well. Then begin cooking, stirring continually. Once mixture begins to boil, lower heat and continue stirring for an additional minute. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Pudding really isn't that hard to make... and it is worth the effort... and I was reminded of the very same lesson I've been working on with one of my math students this year... Sometimes, even when it isn't our prefered mode of operation, we have to follow the rules, exactly and in order, to successfully accomplish reach our goal. It is uncomfortable and constraining, sometimes downright annoying and even infuriating... but that is just the way it is. And that may be the way it always is with some tasks.

With others, however, once we master the process, understand what is going on and why, we find that those same rules which once seemed so frustratingly limiting are now freeing; they actually allow us to adapt...  modify... explore other alternatives... plumb infinite "other possiblities." We've now used modifications of that same eggless recipe to make vanilla pudding, butterscotch pudding, and vanilla ice cream... and who knows what other creations we'll can up with!

Kind of makes me think of Paul, in Acts 9.3-6 (KJV)
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the goad. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."
Paul had been furiously trying to earn God's favor... but he wasn't following the plan laid out by our Heavenly Father. He was frantically doing everything that made sense to him, in his way and against the counsel of his religious mentor... God called it kicking against the goad... or "offering vain and perilous resistence." (from the Amplified Bible).

Once he gave up pursuing his path, begain following the Lord's instructions exactly, God freed him from eternal death and liberated and then worked through him; in my humble opinion, Paul became the most amazing missionary, besides our Lord, this world has ever seen.

And just imagine... all that from pondering pudding. God sometimes speaks to me in mysterious ways and bizzare circumstances!

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