Pudding Recipes

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Pudding Memories
by Marcia Passos Duffy

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version of this story & recipes

Part of the pleasure of eating
pudding (aside from its yummy
taste) is the warm & fuzzy
memories it stirs up for those
of us who ate it (sometimes by
the gallons) as children.  

For me, the best pudding memory comes from my grandmother’s Portuguese
rice pudding, warm right off the stove, topped with cinnamon.  The sweetest
part was scraping the bottom of the pot for those pearly rice granules, slightly
caramelized; she always obliged and even scooped some up for herself,
winking at me like it was our own special secret.  My mother made a different
sort of pudding, with roots in Brazil where she grew up called Mingau de
Milho: a hearty cornmeal pudding we often ate for breakfast.  She always
tucked away in one of the bowls a small cinnamon stick; finding it was like
getting a wishbone, filled with good luck.

Making pudding from scratch is so easy it’s a shame to use any of those pre-
made mixes from a box.  This is the real deal – and worth the extra time it may
take to prepare for a rich and wonderful taste – and for the memories.  

Note: You can use any kind of milk but these recipes were prepared with whole raw milk
for the best taste!  

Vovo’s Rice Pudding
(Note: “Vovo” is Portuguese for ‘grandmother’)

The secret to creamy rice pudding, my grandmother always says, is the rice.  
She always used short or medium grain rice in this recipe.

4 ½ c. water
zest of 1 large lemon (cut in long thin strips)
Pinch of salt
2 c short or medium grain rice
4 ½ to 5 cups scalding hot milk (whole milk)
¾ c. sugar
1 tablespoon butter
4 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

In large pan bring water, salt and lemon zest to a boil.  Reduce heat to a
simmer and steep lemon zest for 10 minutes.  You can remove the lemon zest,
but I like to keep them in for extra flavor.  

Bring water to a rolling boil again and add rice.  Adjust heat to a low simmer.  
Cook rice in a simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until all water is
absorbed.  Add 1 cup of the hot milk and stir very gently until all milk is
absorbed.  Continue to add the milk, 1 cup at a time, each time stirring gently.  
When adding the last cup of milk mix in sugar, butter, egg yolks and ½
teaspoon of cinnamon.  Cover, and with low heat, cook for 15-20 minutes,
gently stirring occasionally to make sure pudding is not burning at the bottom
of the pan.  

You’ll know when the pudding is done when it is very creamy.  My
grandmother’s test for doneness was to put a wooden spoon in the center of the
pan. If it stands up without falling over it's done!

Pour pudding into individual bowls.  The traditional Portuguese way to
decorate rice pudding is to use ground cinnamon to create various designs
such as grids or swirls.  You can also get creative and use a doily as a template
and sprinkle cinnamon on top to create a design through the holes.   Serve
warm or chilled.

Serves 4-6

Mingau de Milho - Cornmeal Pudding

5 cups of whole milk
1 cup cornmeal  
¼ cup of honey
½ teaspoon whole cloves (about 5 or 6 individual cloves)
½ cinnamon stick

Pour cold milk into large pan; add cornmeal, cloves, and cinnamon.  Stir well
while cold to dissolve cornmeal completely.  Turn on heat to low and add
honey; allow to simmer, stirring continuously to avoid lumps.  Allow to
simmer 5-7 minutes until pudding become thick.  Pour into large bowls (one
bowl will inevitably get the cinnamon stick!)

Best served warm, but can be chilled.

Serves 4-6

Angel Hair Pudding

Another Portuguese-inspired pudding often served in restaurants.  Sprinkle
cinnamon on top in a heart shape or in a grid.

1 eight-ounce package of angel-hair pasta (extra-thin vermicelli)
1 ½ c. whole milk
½ c. sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon butter
ground cinnamon

In a 4 quarter saucepan heat 4 inches of water to boiling.  Add pasta and cook 5
minutes.  Drain well and return to pan. Add 2 cups of milk to pasta. Heat to
boiling, stirring constantly.  Reduce to low heat, cook another 5 minutes, again,
stirring constantly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl beat remaining ½ cup of milk, sugar and egg
yolks. Gradually beat into the pasta mixture in pan.Cook low another 3
minutes until mixture thickens – do not boil.  Stir in grated lemon rind and

Spoon into serving bowls.  Sprinkle with cinnamon on top. Cool about 15
minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6.

Vanilla Pudding (and variations)

I make this simple vanilla pudding recipe quite a bit for my kids.  It’s almost as
easy to make as boxed instant pudding. While its wonderful plain, you can
jazz it up by adding fresh strawberries, blueberries, peaches or mandarin
oranges.  For toppings try some chopped toasted walnuts, hazelnuts or
almonds. I like to top it with a mixture of sour cream and maple syrup with a
dusting of ground nutmeg.  For chocolate pudding mix in 1-2 ounces
bittersweet baking chocolate (more if you want it more chocolate-ty)

4 cups fresh whole raw milk (for the best taste!)
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla

1-2 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate (optional)

Gently heat 3 cups of the milk in a large pan.  Stir in the sugar and salt.  

In a small bowl combine 1 cup of milk and the cornstarch. Set aside.  When
milk is very hot (do not boil) add the cornstarch mixture and sugar. Continue
to cook and stir constantly until the pudding is very thick. Once thick, continue
to cook 3-4 minutes more, stirring constantly. If making chocolate pudding add
bittersweet chocolate and stir well until dissolved. Cool and add vanilla.  

Makes 4-6 servings

About the author:

Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelance writer & the publisher of The Heart of New
England online magazine.
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