I've been sick. Again. In fact, I haven't been this ill, this often, since I was a kid. When I'm sick, I often wish my mum would bring over the foods she used to make when I was young. Custard, pudding, porridge... Something sweet to sustain me until I am well enough to eat normally again. Of course, my mum doesn't usually bring me food, since I rarely even tell her I am ill. So I've only myself to make those childhood comfort foods.
I've been craving pudding. Not the rich, eggy, custard-based puddings my mum makes (because I don't think I can stomach the richness at the moment), but the artificially flavoured, powdered stuff I would have at my friends' homes. Most specifically, butterscotch pudding. Unfortunately, I was too feverish to drag my sorry behind to the store for a box of pudding. So from scratch it is.
While I would advise against cooking when delirious with fever, if getting someone to cook for you is not an option, pudding is certainly easy enough to attempt. Just make sure you don't go and burn yourself...
Yields about 3 cups, or 6 portions
160g/ ¾ cup sugar
60g/ 2 Tbs butter, optional
20g/ 2 Tbs cornstarch
500ml/ 2 cups milk
Sift cornstarch into a small bowl, add half of the milk, and stir.
Whisk in the egg, and beat until completely blended.
In a dry pan, pour sugar and a spoonful of water.
Place over medium-high heat, and leave to caramelise without fiddling.
Swirl the pan every now and then, to burn the sugar evenly.
Do not let the caramel get too dark, otherwise the pudding will be too bitter: as soon as you smell hints of burn, remove from heat, and add the butter, and swirl the pan vigorously.
Turn down the heat to medium.
Whisk in the milk and the cornstarch mix. Return pan to heat, and stir constantly.
When the pudding starts bubbling again, remove from heat, but keep stirring for another minute or so.
Pour out the pudding into a bowl, cover, and leave to cool down to room temperature or in the fridge.
Pudding is really easy to make. You can forgo caramelising the sugar, and make a vanilla pudding by adding vanilla extract instead. You can also add chocolate at the very end to obtain a rich chocolate pudding (cut the sugar down to about ½ cup or less). You can use any thickener instead of the cornstarch (wheat flour, tapioca flour, quinoa flour... you may need to increase it to 3Tbs) if you do not have any in your pantry: the resulting texture will be a little different, but it will be tasty nonetheless. Finally, if you tummy isn't suffering, you can replace half the milk with cream to make an extra rich pudding.