What is the difference between Vanilla Pudding and Custard?
Pudding and custard are like sister desserts to each other. While you may think that they are the same, the ingredient that makes them different is starch. Pudding requires a starch, such as cornstarch, to thicken its texture. Custard utilizes eggs as its main thickening agent. The texture is also softer in a pudding, whereas custard has a thicker or firmer texture.
How to make vanilla pudding from scratch
Cooking vanilla pudding from scratch is easier than you think. With just 6 ingredients you likely already have on hand, you are able to make this creamy treat anytime your sweet craving hits.
Begin by warming whole milk (or any type of milk you prefer) with vanilla sugar or extract in a large sauce pan on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Do not let it come to a boil. Warm it enough just until the milk surface starts to froth a little. If you have a food thermometer, check that the milk temperature is 130°F (54°C). Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Scoop a 1/4 cup of the warmed milk; at this point it should be about 120°F (49°C), and slowly pour it into the flour mix while continuously whisking. Once combined, add one egg yolk at a time while continuously whisking mixture. Only do this step once the milk had a chance to cool slightly or else you risk curdling (cooking) the egg.
Place a large sieve over the sauce pan and pour egg mixture back into the milk. Heat milk on medium-high heat and continue to whisk for 5 to 7 minutes or until the pudding is thickened. Remove from heat and pour into a heat proof bowl. To prevent a milk skin from forming, cover pudding with plastic wrap and brush the surface to remove excess air. Let the pudding cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour or longer. You can serve it by itself or dress it up with berries. Use it in cakes and desserts for added filling.
How to make Vanilla Pudding from scratch
- 2¼ cup whole milk (3.25% M.F.) or milk of choice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 envelope vanilla sugar
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 2 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- Add milk and vanilla extract to a large sauce pan and warm milk on medium-high heat just until milk starts to froth. Milk temperature should be about 130°F (54°C). Do not let it come to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Scoop 1/4 cup of warmed milk (temp. should be 120°F) and slowly whisk milk into flour mix until well combined. Add one egg yolk at a time while continuously whisking mixture until combined.
- Place a large sieve over the sauce pan with remaining milk in it. Pour egg mixture through sieve back into milk. Heat milk on medium-high heat and continue to whisk for 5 to 7 minutes or until the pudding is thickened. Remove from heat and pour into a heat proof bowl.
- To prevent a milk skin from forming, cover pudding with plastic wrap directly on the surface. Leave pudding bowl on counter to cool for 30 minutes then transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill for 1 hour or longer.
- Enjoy pudding on its own or use in any dessert you like.