I blame the lockdown for all the ingredients I have on hand that I only use half of before I need to use them up or lose them forever. This leads me to bake random things that I have to pawn off on unsuspecting people. I suspect this is one of those experiments that won’t be welcomed with open arms, minds or mouths.
Vanilla pudding made with coconut milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups coconut milk (unsweetened) – feel free to use other kinds of milk to your taste
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, maybe a dash of vanilla bean powder
Whisk the sugar and salt together in a small saucepan.
Separate four eggs; set the whites aside for use in something else.
Combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk to dissolve the cornstarch.
Add the cornstarch mix, the rest of the coconut milk and four egg yolks to the saucepan and whisk well.
Cook the mixture on medium heat, stir constantly.
Once mix thickens (and it will – it seems to take a while but once it starts, it gets thick quickly), lower the heat and cook for one minute while constantly whisking.
Pour the mix through a fine sieve, stir in the vanilla. Pour into a bowl, if eating as pudding. Pour into a pre-baked pie crust if making a pudding pie.
Affix plastic wrap directly to the surface of the pudding/pie filling and chill 2+ hours.
Pictured: The bit of the pudding that didn’t fit in the pie.
Okay, now that I think about it, a lot of my recipes for Thanksgiving are not at all traditional and I am coloring outside the lines. I have partly adopted and totally adapted the recipes and dishes to suit my own tastes and what I feel like cooking. My family has always made a corn and oyster casserole that I find one-hundred-percent disgusting. Oysters! Bleh. I do see corn pudding as having a role in Thanksgiving, and I like things like crab much more than oyster. I think perhaps next year I will try lobster, which I prefer to crab. This dish is one of those that I stubbornly insist on making – but that most people don’t really eat once it is done. Yet I carry on…
Corn and crab pudding
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup shallots, minced
¼ cup fresh poblano chile pepper, seeded and chopped (I used far less than this)
12 ounces corn kernels
1 ¾ cup half and half (I used cream)
3 tablespoon flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 ½ cup cooked crab
4 tablespoons parmesan
Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Lightly butter 8 ramekins. In heavy skillet on medium melt butter. Add shallots and chiles. Sauté til pepper is tender (3 mins). In blender, puree corn, add half and half, eggs, flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and white pepper. Pulse til smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in crab and poblano mix. Divide among ramekins, sprinkle ½ teaspoon cheese on each. Place cups in large roasting pan, pour hot water into pan. Bake 50 minutes until set.
Sometime last year I became quite obsessed with stuffing things into other things. This sounds a bit obscene, but what I mean is that I liked the improbable and over-the-top (at least in theory) pairings of peanut butter cups stuffed into chocolate chip cookies or Toblerone candy stuffed into a cupcake. I have kept that stuffed theme going into this year, occasionally dreaming up some new thing to put into a cookie or cake. The whole idea of baking an entire pie into a cake gained traction in recent years, and while I have not yet had the fortitude or occasion to try that experiment for myself, I have tackled the mini pie inside a cupcake.
I give you the mini chocolate pudding pie inside a vanilla cupcake with what should be chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream that never quite took shape or firmed up the way a Swiss meringue frosting should (but it seemed fine enough to use in any case).
Vanilla cupcakes stuffed with mini chocolate pudding pies
Vanilla cupcake batter:
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups milk
You can make your own or buy a couple of packages of instant chocolate pudding.
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. First roll your pie crust out and use a glass or pastry cutter that is about 2.5 inches in diameter. Cut out rounds from the crust. Press the dough into a lightly greased mini cupcake pan. Either use pie weights or dry beans to weigh down the middle of the pie crust (they will puff up otherwise) or poke a few holes in the pastry bottoms. Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust turns slightly golden brown. Set aside and let cool.
Make the pudding according to your instructions.
Fill the cooled crusts with pudding and refrigerate.
For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and milk in alternating turns with the mixer on low. Beat mixture just until combined/smooth.
Fill cupcake liners in your cupcake pan with about one heaping tablespoon of batter. Top this with one of the chocolate mini pies and gently press it into the batter. Put another heaping tablespoon on top of the pie to fully cover it.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cupcakes have begun to turn a light golden brown and the cupcake top will spring back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about ten minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.