Oh, Fall. With Halloween as the lead-off into winter squash madness, pumpkin always seems to be a star. The shape graces everything from plastic buckets to candy corn (er, candy corn-kins?,) from construction paper cut-outs to glittery stickers. It makes its way into pies, muffins, and of course, my team’s favorite pumpkin waffles from Vegan with a Vengeance that make everyone else in the building jealous that their team doesn’t occasionally have sit-down breakfast on the job.
(What? You don’t do that either? That sucks.)
At any rate, one request for “pumpkin something” from my coworker Casey got me thinking. Someone else had asked for pumpkin nut muffins (and don’t worry Larissa, I haven’t forgotten!) but I wanted to try making this pumpkin-lovin’ gal something she hadn’t had before, something different.
Yup, pudding. If you’ve never had homemade pudding, you are missing out! I will confess to eating it, vanilla, chocolate or mocha, still hot, right out of the pot before I can get it into ramekins or a seal-able container.
Don’t worry, I don’t double dip.
Bringing it into the office I thought “Here’s hoping my coworkers offer up some good constructive feedback – or maybe some accolades if I’m lucky?” It was based off a dark chocolate pudding recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, but I think after what I’ve done to it, it’s pretty safe to call it mine.
Okay, so it’s not a looker, but definitely a comforting thing and a wonderful alternative to pie. It turned out silky, custard-like almost and still with all the soothing spices we have come to associate with Fall. One of my teammates has already declared that she wants to put this in a vegan graham cracker crust (and believe you me, I’m so there to try it!)
Pumpkin Pudding (trial)
makes 1 tub or a small slew of Dixie-cup sized tasting portions
2 1/2- 2 3/4 c plain soymilk (I like Silk for the creamy body)
1 can pureed pumpkin, with 1 c set aside to make muffins later
3-6 T cornstarch (this will depend on how watery your pumpkin seems)
1/4 c evaporated cane sugar
1/4 c light brown sugar, packed
1-2 T pure vanilla extra
spice to taste (I used cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice because I was so low on ginger)
Take the sugars and cornstarch; mix thoroughly. If your pumpkin seems really watery, 4 to 5 tablespoons should be plenty, as I found that the pumpkin (when set overnight in the fridge) firmed the batch up a lot into a very custard-y texture, which went over quite well.
Put the dry mix in your pot of choice over medium heat, pouring the soymilk in slowly as you whisk to incorporate. It’s super important you do not let anything stay stuck to the sides or it’ll end up clumpy and you will be sad, so take your time with this step. Slowly continue whisking till it comes to a boil; immediately lower the heat and simmer for about five minutes or till the mix coats the back of a spoon. I will note that my measuring method here was to use my 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, and then fill it till about half an inch from the top. So much for a precise recipe!
Remove from the heat. Immediately whisk in the vanilla and as much or as little spice as you like (I used probably a total of 1-2 teaspoons at most, throwing in a cinnamon stick to “steep” in the pudding overnight.) Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides! DO NOTE: if you taste your pudding during this step and it does not seem strong enough, do NOT overdo it if you plan on serving this cold! As the pudding sets up, the flavors will intensify. I will state that I am glad I refrained from adding too much more before pouring it into the container; had I done so, it may have not been palatable.
Here’s the slightly tricky part: you want to incorporate the pumpkin evenly without it turning into a gluey mess. I did this by first doing a slow whisk, then beating it a wee bit with a spatula till it seemed close enough — you can give it a good stir again before serving.
Eat it warm or let chill, preferably overnight to let the flavors meld. Hope you like it – it seems to have gotten the seal of approval over here.
(And don’t forget – there’s still time to enter the Bob’s Red Mill giveaway!)