Office-friendly pudding

office-friendly puddingA little bite of something sweet is sure to brighten any day at the office. Also, our brains need sugar to do all that important thinking we do throughout the day. Those are my excuses for sweet treats at coffee break or after lunch … Whatever yours are, here is another suggestion for something you can make ahead and grab on your way out the door.

I call it pudding – that’s my German roots coming through. Apparently, the correct term for this cornstarch-thickened boiled milk is the exquisitely old-fashioned blancmange, but since I learned that word first as a name for a sweet dish made with shredded chicken, of all things, you will forgive me if I avoid that term because the thought of a chicken dessert still puzzles me.

To make it office-convenient, I fill the pudding hot into sterilised jars, and keep them in the fridge (after they’ve cooled). I guess they would keep at least two weeks or so like that … I have yet to resist eating them for that long though. Of course you can just put them into bowls and serve them after a meal.

I’ve tried them with chocolate flavour or, as above, cardamom and vanilla. Again, your imagination is the limit, just do be sure not to use fruit that is too acidic, as the milk will curdle.

Cardamom and vanilla pudding
Makes 2 jars of about 200ml and a half-portion you can pour into a cup and enjoy as soon as it doesn’t scald your tongue anymore. Just me?

You need:
Milk – 500ml, whole, skimmed or whatever you prefer. And, well, cow’s milk.
Starch – 2 Tablespoons. Cornstarch or potato starch, makes no difference.
Cardamom – 2 pods, or 1/2 teaspoon ground
Vanilla – 1/2 pod, or 1 teaspoon of liquid vanilla
Sugar – 2 Tablespoons, or to your liking

Jars – 2 with screw-top lids, and another or a cup for yourself

What to do:
– If you are ahead of yourself and are able to soak the (whole) spices in the milk overnight, very good. But you don’t have to.
– Put the jars you want to use and their lids into a plastic bowl with boiling water, at least enough to fill them. You want them to be hot when you fill in the hot pudding, or they are prone to crack.
– In a little bowl, add about 2 Tablespoons of COLD milk to the starch and stir until it’s all dissolved into a smooth paste/liquid.
– Put the milk, the starch paste, spices and sugar into a pot and heat to just under boiling. I use medium to high heat and stir pretty much consistently with a whisk. As long as the mix is cold, it is as liquid as regular milk. Only with heat will the starch start to thicken. You will notice how it does as you stir it. As normally with boiling milk, take it off the heat when it gets a sort of groundswell. Don’t wait too long, or there’s a pudding volcano erupting all over your hob. Stirring also keeps the milk from sticking to the bottom … though it still might … one of my pots always burns the milk. Maybe it’s cursed.
– With the pot off the heat, empty the hot jars of the water (I recommend rubber gloves) one at a time, and fill them to the brim with pudding. Close immediately with the screw-top lid.

Well, that’s it!

For Chocolate Pudding, just replace the spices with 2 Tablespoons of cocoa and perhaps adjust the sugar, if it’s too bitter for you. The process is the same.

Happy work breaks!

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