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Strawberry Pudding

Isn’t this awfully early to be making strawberry desserts? Not anymore! I’ve been buying Ontario greenhouse strawberries off and on all winter.

Mind you though, I only used them for the garnish. The pudding is made with frozen strawberries from our garden, and given that they get mashed and cooked, frozen is probably the best choice for this pudding, unless you wait and make it with the glut of garden berries in June or July.

When you mix milk and acid, you get curdled milk, which is why the recipe calls for you to make essentially 2 puddings then blend them together. If you use non-dairy milk, such as soy milk or almond milk, you can mix everything in one pot and cook it at once without fear of curdling. However, even though this is a simple, even homely, pudding I think it is quite good enough to justify the use of 2 pots.

I’ve used both quantities of sugar; it depends on how sweet your berries are and how sweet you want your pudding to be. I have to admit that in most cases I probably prefer the slightly larger quantity. Also note that while I normally call for either arrowroot or cornstarch as a thickener, and usually prefer to use arrowroot, it really gives this pudding an unpleasantly slimy, ropey, texture. Use corn starch for this one.

p.s. – Also delicious (if a little seedy) when made with frozen raspberries! Blueberries taste okay, but make the pudding a dismaying shade of grey.

6 servings
20 minutes prep time plus 2 hours chill time

Strawberry Pudding

2 cups strawberries (can be frozen)
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
2 cups rich milk, soy milk, or almond milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
fresh strawberries to garnish, if available

If the berries are fresh, wash and hull them. (One assumes this is already done if they are frozen.) Put them in a reasonably large, heavy-bottomed pot and mash them coarsely with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and about half the sugar, until no signs of white powder remain.

Mix the remaining cornstarch, salt, and sugar, in another pot. Mix in the milk well, a little at a time, to ensure that the starch is evenly dissolved throughout.

Once that is done, heat the mixtures over medium heat, stirring frequently. Do each one separately or you may reach a point when you are trying to stir with each arm. Cook until the mixtures thicken, stirring more often as it heats. As it approaches the end of the cooking you should stir it constantly. Once the puddings thicken, remove them from the heat. Stir in the almond extract.

Let the pudding cool for 5 or 10 minutes, then blend them together thoroughly. Spoon the pudding into individual serving bowls, or transfer it to the dish from which it will be served. Chill well before serving. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if you have them.

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