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Sweet And Savory Puddings

I often overlook pudding as a simple yet satisfying ending to a meal. An old favorite, pudding has a sweet, smooth, creamy texture that is enjoyed by adults and kids alike, and can be jazzed up with fruit or your favorite ingredients. Get out the parfait glasses or whip up a bowl full of your favorite pudding.

SUGAR-FREE CITRUS PUDDING
3/4 cup Splenda brand sweetener
1/4 cup cornstarch
2-1/2 cups low-fat milk (1%)
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons lemon or lime zest (or a mix of both)
Pinch salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Several very thin lemon or lime slices
3 egg whites
1 Tablespoon sugar

Whisk Splenda and cornstarch together in medium saucepan. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Add egg yolks, 3/4 of the zest, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and butter. Let cool to room temperature. Whip egg whites with sugar until stiff. Fold gently into pudding mixture. Chill at least two hours until set and thoroughly chilled. Serve in parfait glasses or bowls. Garnish with remaining zest and lemon or lime slices. If desired, dip rims of parfait glasses in beaten egg white and dip into sugar for a festive touch. Serves 4.

RASPBERRY PUDDING
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon unflavored gelatin
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 cups chilled whipped cream
Fresh mint for garnish

Combine raspberries and sugar in saucepan. Heat and stir over medium heat until mixture turns to liquid. Remove from heat, stir in gelatin and lemon juice. Scrape into a large bowl. Cool for 10 minutes. Whip the whipped cream until soft peaks form. Mix one cup of whipped cream with raspberry mixture until combined. Fold in remaining whipped cream and chill. Serve in tall, pretty glasses and garnish with fresh mint. Serves 4.

CHOCOLATE CINNAMON PUDDING
8 oz. dark chocolate
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

In small mixing bowl, grate or break chocolate into small pieces. Add cinnamon. Heat 1/3 cup of whipping cream in small pan on low until it is almost ready to boil. Remove from heat. Pour over grated chocolate and cinnamon and stir until chocolate melts. Stir in cocoa. Set aside. In small mixing bowl, beat remaining cream with electric mixer until firm peaks form. Using a wooden spoon, blend chocolate mixture very gently into the whipped cream. Chill for several hours before serving. Serves 4.

OLD-FASHIONED TAPIOCA PUDDING
1/2 cup large pearl tapioca
2 cups cold water
2-1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Place tapioca in medium mixing bowl along with water; cover and let set overnight. Drain tapioca and place in slow cooker along with milk, cream, and salt. Cook on high for two hours, stirring occasionally. In small bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar. Add small amounts of tapioca into egg mixture so as not to curdle, until you have added about one cup. Make sure you stir after each addition. Add this mixture back to the slow cooker along with zest, stirring well to combine. Cook an additional 15 minutes. Place pudding in bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap. Cool at room temperature at least an hour and place in refrigerator until completely chilled. Serves 4.

SWEET POTATO PUDDING
2-1/2 cups baked sweet potato pulp, cooled
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon dark corn syrup
1 Tablespoon rum flavoring, if desired
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 1-1/2-quart baking dish. Beat together all ingredients in large mixing bowl until light and smooth. Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

PRALINE TOPPING
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons crystallized ginger
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Combine praline ingredients and sprinkle over top of baked pudding. Continue baking for an additional 25 minutes until pudding is set and slightly puffed. Serve warm. Serves 6-8.

Coming Next Month: Chefs’ Favorite Derby Recipes

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