pudding

Coffee and Baileys Pudding Parfaits

Coffee and Baileys go together like peas and carrots, like peanut butter and jam, like hotdogs and cheese slices.

Coffee and Baileys Pudding Parfaits (adapted from Chow.com)

1/3 C sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 C Baileys

3 egg yolks

1 + 3/4 C whole milk

3 Tbsp butter

2 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp instant espresso powder

- grab a strainer and an extra bowl and set aside - in a large, microwave safe bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt

- whisk in the Baileys until smooth - add egg yolks and whisk until smooth - add milk and whisk until smooth

- microwave in 1-minute increments, whisking well in between each minute, until pudding starts to thicken (mine took 5 one-minute zaps) - when the pudding is starting to thicken, microwave in 30 second increments until, well, pudding-like - stir in the butter and the vanilla and continue to stir until butter is melted and well combined

- pour the pudding through the strainer into the other bowl you set aside - divide the pudding in half between the two bowls - mix in the espresso powder in to one of the bowls of pudding - cover each bowl with plastic wrap (I actually lay a piece of Saran Wrap right on top of the pudding to prevent a nasty skin from forming) and chill in the fridge for one hour (minimum)

- to serve, layer the two puddings in glass vessels - top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa

Rhubarb Curd Pudding Cups

 I owe my love of lemon curd to Aimée White - Food Je t'Aimée. It was during a tea party at her house that I had my first encounter with this gorgeous tart and creamy spread.

It's been an ongoing love affair and since that afternoon, I've played with recipes for lemon, lime and Clementine curds. Walking through the farmer's market the other day, I noticed that Noggins had lush bunches of fresh pink and green spring rhubarb. After the obligatory rhubarb crisp for Sean, my thoughts turned toward curd and I thought, why not?

Totally winging it, as I normally do, I used my favourite lemon curd recipe and just substituted a pound of washed, chopped rhubarb for the lemon juice and zest. I thought about straining out the chunks of rhubarb but in the end said screw it and decided to leave them in for flavour and texture.

Oh my.

You want to make this. Trust me.

I made this Vanilla Pudding Recipe from CHOW.com and layered it in cups with the rhubarb curd and a sweet little Amaretti cookie on top.

Rhubarb Curd

1 pound (454g) fresh rhubarb, washed, chopped (use as many bright pink pieces as possible including the parts around the bottom of the stalks)

1 Tbsp water

1 C sugar

4 egg yolks

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1/2 C butter

- combine rhubarb, water and 1/2 C sugar in a pot - cook on medium-low heat until rhubarb is very soft, about 14 minutes - smoosh all pieces with the back of a rubber spatula or mash with a potato masher

- whisk egg yolks, kosher salt and remaining 1/2 C sugar - scoop out about 1/2 to 1 Cup hot rhubarb and whisk it into the egg yolk mixture a little bit at a time to temper the yolks and then add everything back to the pot with the remaining hot rhubarb - whisk together

- add butter and cook over med-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy

- dish into clean Mason jars or other airtight storage containers

*I usually halve this recipe and it makes two 250mL Mason jars full of curd

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Pudding Pops for Grown-Ups

Along with stickerbooks, jelly shoes and Cabbage Patch Kids, JELLO Pudding Pops, and their spokesperson Bill Cosby, were two of my favourite things about growing up in the 80s.

The texture of a Pudding Pop is something I will always remember - smooth and creamy without the crystallization of a Fudgsicle (although let's get real - Fudgsicles are pretty friggin' awesome too!!).

I came across a recipe for Butterscotch Pudding Pops a couple of weeks ago on CHOW.com and thought I'd give them a whirl. The recipe gave me the chance to try some things I've never had before like Foxhill Cheese's gorgeous unhomogenized milk from the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market.

 

Also, I used gelatin for the first time... (don't worry - it's SUPPOSED to look like this)...

 

made a huge mess in my kitchen... (although that's not new!!)...

 

and used these really cool popsicle molds I bought at the Superstore for $7.

The intro to the recipe suggests adding a couple of tablespoons of Scotch to the recipe to punch up the flavour. Sean and I don't really drink, but we have a fully stocked liquor cabinet, including a barely touched bottle of Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch so I said what the hell?

They were perfect.

No really - these Pudding Pops were one of the most flavourful things I have made in a LONG time. I mean we could REALLY taste the Scotch but it added such an amazing depth to the taste I would never make them without!!

**A funny side note - I doubled the recipe thinking I would freeze half of the batter as Pudding Pops and turn the other half into ice cream but here's the thing. When you put homemade PUDDING batter into the fridge to chill, so you can turn it into ice cream, it actually turns into PUDDING. Man did I ever feel dumb when I peeled away the cling wrap and realized ice cream was NOT an option. It did make me laugh though!! (When I pulled the pudding out of the fridge it was delicious but at the same time, it was really lumpy, which I found visually unappealing. I did a little research as to WHY it was lumpy and so the recipe below is adjusted with the directions I will follow NEXT TIME to hopefully avoid those yucky lumps!!)

Butter-Scotch Pudding Pops

1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

4 Tbsp Butter - cut up

2 Cups Cold Half and Half (this is labelled 'Coffee Cream' on the shelves here, however, I just used half milk, half heavy cream and they turned out great)

2 teaspoons Unflavoured Gelatin

Candy Thermometer

3/4 teaspoon Vanilla

1/8 teaspoon Salt

2 Tbsp Scotch

~ Heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and bubbling - about 8 minutes - cool

~ Put 1/4 Cup of Half and Half into a small bowl - sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the cold cream - do not disturb 3 minutes - it will turn wrinkled and wavy right away

~ Add the gelatin-cream mixture, plus the remaining 1 3/4 Cups of cold cream to the cooled brown sugar mixture - turn heat to medium-low - as the cream heats, the brown sugar and butter will melt and the gelatin will dissolve - whisk until gelatin is no longer grainy (once heated through should take about 4 minutes) - do not heat above 170 degrees or the gelatin will not set

~ Remove from heat - strain through a fine mesh sieve - stir in vanilla, salt and Scotch - pour into popsicle molds and freeze OR for pudding, cover surface of batter with plastic cling and refrigerate 3 hours

After one hour in the freezer, I took my molds out and inserted large wooden popsicle sticks through the centre of each pop. Before I put the sticks in I wrote a message on each one with a Sharpie (U R SO Cool!! - Bite Me!! - Eat Me!! - Me Love You/Long Time - I Love Lamp - the last one is still in the freezer and I forget what I wrote on it!!). In my research I read that in order for Sharpie ink to be toxic to humans, you'd have to drink at LEAST an ounce. I've eaten three Pudding Pops in the last couple of days and I'm still alive.

These were easy to make and a truly nostalgic tribute to my amazing childhood. Sean and I agreed that the punch of liquor would make them a unique and interesting dessert to serve at a dinner party and so we'll probably do that soon. With the recipe for Vanilla Pudding Pops on the CHOW website, the flavour options would really only be limited by your imagination!!

ps - a huge thank you is in order to my awesome husband Sean for taking the shots of me devouring a Pudding Pop - it was very strange being on what I call the 'wrong side' of the camera but he managed to make me look good!!