Preparation / Directions:
ALMOND: Omit the vanilla bean and substitute almond extract for the
vanilla extract. Crumble enough Italian amaretti or other
almond-flavored macaroons to equal 1 cup fine crumbs. Stir about 2/3
cup of the crumbs into the pudding along with the almond extract.
Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top of the pudding just before
BUTTERSCOTCH: Omit the vanilla bean. Increase the butter to 6 tb and
substitute 1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar for the
granulated sugar. After heating the milk and cream as directed, melt
the butter in another heavy saucepan over low heat, add the brown
sugar, and stir until the sugar and butter melt together, about 3
minutes. Gradually stir or whisk in the warm cream mixture until
smooth. In the top pan of a double boiler, stir together the
cornstarch and salt; do not add granulated sugar. Continue as
directed in the basic recipe, adding the brown sugar /milk mixture in
place of the milk.
CHOCOLATE: Reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup. Finely chop 6 to 8 ounces
semisweet or bitter sweet chocolate and stir it into the pudding along
with the butter until melted.
CITRUS: Omit the vanilla bean. Add 1 tb finely grated or minced lemon,
lime, orange, or tangerine zest to the milk and cream when heating.
Strain the milk, if desired, before adding the sugar mixture. Garnish
the pudding with candied peel of the same fruit.
COCONUT: Substitute canned or freshly made coconut milk for all or
part of the milk and cream. Sprinkle the top of the pudding with
lightly toasted sweetened shredded coconut.
COFFEE: Stir about 1 tb instant espresso powder into the warm
FRESH FRUIT SWIRL: Prepare the basic custard and chill. Puree about 2
cups fresh berries or figs, sliced peaches or nectarines, poached
pears, cooked apples, or stewed dried fruit until smooth. Swirl it
through the cooled pudding.
HIGH SPIRITED: Omit the vanilla bean and stir in Amaretto, Frangelico,
Grand Marnier, Kahlua or other liqueur to taste instead of the vanilla
MOCHA: Increase the sugar to 1 cup. Add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
powder, preferably Dutch-process type, along with the sugar. Increase
the butter to 1/4 cup. Stir about 2 ts instant instant espresso
powder into the warm milk.
PINEAPPLE: Stir 1 cup canned crushed pineapple into the warm custard.