Vanilla beans can be expensive, but their superior flavor is worth the investment. Substitute vanilla paste or one teaspoon real vanilla extract if necessary. Stir extract in with the butter.
Cooking Light AUGUST 2006
Place milk in a medium, heavy saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to milk. Bring to a boil.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl, stirring well. Combine half-and-half and egg yolks, stirring well. Stir egg yolk mixture into sugar mixture. Gradually add half of hot milk to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return hot milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat. Add butter, stirring until melted. Remove vanilla bean; discard.
Spoon pudding into a bowl. Place bowl in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until pudding cools, stirring occasionally. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap; chill.
Peanut Butter Pudding Variation: Omit vanilla bean, salt, and butter; stir in 1/4 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter after custard is cooked. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup).
CALORIES 257 (30% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 3.3g, mono 3.6g, poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 6.9g; CARB 39.2g; FIBER 0.7g; CHOL 80mg; IRON 0.5mg; SODIUM 170mg; CALC 142mg
Coconut Pudding Variation: Omit vanilla bean. Omit 3/4 cup milk, and replace it with 3/4 cup light unsweetened coconut milk. Omit butter; stir in 1/2 cup toasted sweetened flaked coconut after pudding is cooked. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup).
CALORIES 224 (30% from fat); FAT 7.5g (sat 5.3g, mono 1.5g, poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 4.1g; CARB 36.8g; FIBER 0.3g; CHOL 77mg; IRON 0.5mg; SODIUM 115mg; CALC 105mg
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