Classic Vanilla Pudding

Monday 19 April 2021

Classic Vanilla Pudding 
Classic Vanilla Pudding. Nothing spells comfort in a dessert much more than good old fashioned Vanilla Pudding.  This has to be the most benign and delicious dessert ever made.

Most of us are familiar with the boxed mixes, both for instant varieties and cooked. Indeed most of my childhood the only vanilla pudding we ever had came from a boxed mix. I don't remember my mother ever making it from scratch. 

Classic Vanilla Pudding

I'm not quite sure I understand why.  Vanilla pudding is probably one of the easiest puddings of all to make from scratch.  There is nothing out of the ordinary in vanilla pudding. Just simple ingredients.

Milk (make sure it is whole), egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, salt, vanilla. That's it!  Oh and a TBS of butter stirred in at the end, which really helps to add a rich flavor. You can leave it out if you wish.

Classic Vanilla Pudding 
When I talk about pudding here, it is not meant to be confused with the British term "Pudding."  In the UK the word pudding is used to mean "dessert."  And they call it all pudding.  Pies, cakes, custards, steamed puddings, etc.

Its the treat that you get at the end of a meal and you will be asked, "Would you care for pudding?"  This question will be asked in homes, restaurants, pubs, etc. Wherever you have gone and had table service for a meal. 

Classic Vanilla Pudding

In North American, pudding is what we call a rich milky thick dessert.  Smooth and sweet, like a really thick custard.  Usually served cold, with or without whipped cream dolloped on top.

It comes in several flavors as well.  Chocolate.  Butterscotch.  Pistachio. Banana.  Coconut. Vanilla (my favourite.)  No, it is not like a Blanc Mange.  Blanc Mange is set.

Pudding is thick, but loose, spoonable.  Delicious.

Classic Vanilla Pudding

It tastes quite similar to custard, but it is nothing like custard.  Custard in the UK, or Creme Anglaise, is usually meant to be spooned over other "puddings."  Not eaten on its own really.

In North America pudding is meant pretty much to be eaten on its own, although there are lots of things you can stir into it that bring lots of delight to lots of folks.  I have never much been a fan of that habit. I like it plain and unadulterated.

Classic Vanilla Pudding 
I have seen people stir mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and toasted nuts, sometimes even toasted coconut into chocolate pudding,  Usually the others are served pretty plain, but when it comes to Vanilla pudding, the skies the limit! 

I have seen crushed oreo cookies stirred into, which is quite nice.  Other stir-ins include sliced banana and crushed vanilla wafers,  fresh berries and crushed gingersnaps, chopped dry roasted peanuts and halved grapes, crumbled nutter butters . . .  

You can really stir in whatever your imagination desires. With a few more crumbled cooked scattered over top just before serving so that they are crisp.

Classic Vanilla Pudding
Myself, I am a bit on the boring side and prefer it just plain. No whipped cream. No stir-ins.  Maybe a cookie on the side, but even then I am not likely to indulge.  Plain and simple.

This is nursery food, comfort food, pure and unadulterated pleasure. One silky spoonful after another.  Today's recipe was adapted from an original recipe in the Purity Cookbook.  Its delicious. 

If you have never made pudding from scratch, I highly recommend this version. Its plain and simple and incredibly easy to make.  Just make sure you temper your egg yolks so you don't scramble them. That is probably the riskiest part, other than that, its a pure and simple doddle to make.

If you can get it, I highly recommend using vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract, and do stir the butter in at the end.  Bliss. Pure and utter, bliss.  Dessert doesn't really get much better than this!

Classic Vanilla Pudding

Classic Vanilla Pudding

Yield: 6 - 8
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 10 Mininactive time: 4 HourTotal time: 4 H & 20 M
A classic dessert, always delicious. Comfort food in a bowl.


  • 4 1/2 cups (1 liter) whole milk
  • 1 cup (195g) sugar (in the UK use castor sugar)
  • 1/3 cup (50g)  cornstarch (corn-flour)
  • 5 large free range egg yolks, beaten lightly
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • fine sea salt
To finish:(optional)
  • sweetened whipped cream


  1. Measure 4 cups (950ml)of the milk into a saucepan. Bring just to the boil and then remove from the heat.
  2. Whisk the sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and cornstarch together in a large bowl.  
  3. Whisk the egg yolks together with the remaining 1/2 cup (120ml) of milk. Slowly whisk this into the sugar mixture to combine thoroughly.
  4. Temper the egg/sugar mixture by slowly whisking in about half of the hot milk.  Once you have done this, carefully whisk this tempered mixture into the remaining milk in the saucepan.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring and whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook and  whisk for a further 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture has thickened to a pudding like consistency.  Whisk in the vanilla and butter.
  7. Cool slightly, stirring it a few times.  
  8. Pour into a bowl and cover the top with some plastic cling film to help prevent a skin from forming. Place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly. (about 4 hours)
  9. When ready to serve, whisk again vigorously, and divide between dessert dishes.
  10. Serve with or without some whipped cream on top.
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Classic Vanilla Pudding
Did you enjoy pudding when you were a child?  Was your mom a box mom or a from scratch mom?  What kind was your favourite? Do you favor stir ins?  What's your favorite take on that?

I know . . .  so many questions. Enquiring mind (s) want to know!

I am not sure if I will be posting a recipe tomorrow. I am having my first vaccine for Covid this morning, early and I am not sure how I will be feeling afterwards. I am hoping okay!  Wish me luck! (I am having the Moderna.)

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  1. I loved Vanilla Pudding when I was a child, though my mother often made Chocolate Pudding as that was what was most popular with my siblings. She made hers from scratch as we were both a large family and relatively poor, so shop bought stuff was a luxury. Can you believe that I longed to have shop bought biscuits, jam, jelly, bread, instant mash, packet gravy mix and things like Cottee's Instant Vanilla Pudding, thinking that we were missing out in some way by having home made everything. It was only after I became an adult and could afford all these shop bought things that I realised what a lucky kid I was!

    My favourite way to eat it is plain, or perhaps stir in some stewed rhubarb. Yum! And it's fast approaching rhubarb season here :)

    Good luck with your vaccination today. I believe that the Moderna one is the one they recommend for diabetics (at least here in the EU), so that might be why they chose it for you. Fingers crossed that it all goes well.

  2. Born in England, we always had Bird's custard on most 'puddings'. Usually bread and butter pudding or apple pie. We didn't have jello pudding until we came to Canada and that was very rare as mum would have to make 2 packages as there were 7 of us and that was pretty extravagant.

    1. That would have been considered pretty extravagant for sure Janice! It was a rare treat in our house as well, even though there were only five of us. Mom made the single package and we made do with less. I hope you will try this! xoxo

  3. I use Bird's Eye custard powder to make pudding. I make it in the microwave so no danger of it catching and easy peasy cleanup. I like to serve it toped with fresh raspberries or a bit of stewed rhubarb. My other favourite is a chocolate mousse made in the blender with hot milk to melt the chocolate chips and cook the egg. So easy to make and so delicious. Gosh, now I'm hungry but time to go to bed. Love and hugs, Elaine

    1. I love Bird's Eye custard powder and like you I make it in the microwave also Elaine! You r chocolate moose sounds really easy and delicious! Love and hugs, xoxo

    2. This sounds delicious, I haven't had homemade vanilla pudding in a while. I searched for recipes and this one sounded the best. I'm making it today.

  4. I really hope that you enjoy it! Thank you very much! xo

  5. This vanilla pudding was absolutely delicious! I used it in a banana pudding trifle and it was just the perfect amount of sweetness. I used flour instead of cornstarch because it was all I had on hand, and I added extra vanilla. This will be my go-to recipe from now on!


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