Let’s revisit the idea of a pudding mix. Did you know that you can make pudding mix from scratch, all by yourself? It makes a fantastic holiday gift packaged in a pretty jar. This recipe depends on one speciality ingredient: Clear Jel, a natural starch that has been modified to thicken instantly on contact with liquid, just like the puddings in the boxes. It is available two ways: instant and regular. Be sure to use the instant variety here. You can find Clear Jel online or in baking specialty shops. You can also find it easily at any store catering to or run by Amish cooks; they use it extensively in baking pies.
What does homemade pudding taste like? It’s sweet and milky, although definitely not as luxurious as a proper stovetop pudding. But it’s pudding, and so quick and convenient – especially for making a pie or an icebox cake.
Make sure to use instant milk powder; non-instant will give this gritty mouthfeel.
Excerpted from Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013 ©). Photography by Stacy Newgent.
- ¼ cup (17 g) instant dry milk or instant malted milk powder
- ⅓ cup (53 g) Instant ClearJel
- 6 tablespoons (38 g) powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (480 ml) cold whole milk
- Whisk together the dry milk, ClearJel, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Funnel into a clean, dry jar or airtight container for storage. This will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool place. To prepare the pudding, dump the dry mix into a large bowl and slowly pour in the milk, beating with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender. The pudding will begin to thicken immediately, but will be thickest after it has been refrigerated for at least 10 minutes.
- Vanilla: You can add vanilla when making the pudding, but you can also split open a vanilla bean and leave it in the pudding mix jar.
- This will flavor the whole batch. Another option is to use vanilla sugar, which is sugar flavored with vanilla beans or sugar that has been stored with a vanilla bean in the jar.
- Cocoa: For a cocoa pudding mix, add ¼ cup cocoa to the dry ingredients.
- Spice: Add ¼ teaspoon ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon to the dry mix.
- Freeze-dried fruit, ground to powder: This is a fun way to flavor puddings. Take freeze-dried bananas or raspberries and grind them to a fine powder in the food processor. Add about ½ cup powder to a batch of pudding mix for color and flavor.
- Other flavorings and colors: Anything very dry and powdered can be added to this pudding mix to flavor or color it. Try adding powdered citrus, other spices, and natural coloring agents like beet powder.