Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pudding It Into Perspective

Usually I try to prepare healthy dishes and meals, using lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and trying to make them reasonably light as well as nutritious. I'm not obsessed by all things low-fat, mind you, and I don't mind using things like butter and cream where warranted since the low-fat alternatives aren't always beneficial, but I do try to practice moderation.

Sometimes, though, moderation isn't good enough.

For some inexplicable reason, when I picked up groceries this weekend, I found myself reaching for the local dairy's whole milk instead of 2%. Maybe it was the bag of steel-cut oats on the counter, begging for a chance to be a rich indulgence instead of a penance. Maybe it was the thought of a clump of cream landing in my morning coffee. And maybe it was due to recent readings that emphasize the healthy benefits to drinking whole milk or raw milk. (Surprising, but true!)

No matter. Home I trekked, with the half-gallon jar of whole milk in my backpack, humming contentedly to itself and occasionally whispering to me.

Trouble is, I don't usually go through milk very quickly. I don't drink it straight, and I don't add that much to my coffee. So that meant I needed to find ways to use this whole milk this week, possibly in baking.

But after a fast-paced morning in the kitchen with my friend the Innkeeper, feeding her dozen guests, I had no strength to bake this afternoon. (In fact, I took a nap. What bliss!) By evening, baking was far from my mind, and a new thought had taken up residence, plumping the pillows and settling in with a mere two words:

Chocolate pudding.

Who can resist that? It's been a long time since I had homemade pudding, served warm by a dear lady who occasionally invited me out to her country homestead and plied me with all sorts of good fresh foods, including dessert. The puddings I had growing up all came from boxes (one wonders what the Chef Mother was thinking), and so this dear lady's homemade pudding came as a revelation.

Surely at this point in developing my cooking skills I should be able to make a reasonably good pudding, I thought. Surely it can't be that hard, and I would have plenty of rich, creamy pudding to enjoy this week.


So after dinner, I whisked together cornstarch, cocoa powder, and some of my rose geranium sugar with two cups of rich whole milk and a splash of vanilla, stirring constantly until it started to boil. After a short simmer, I ladled the pudding into my favorite little pottery bowls.

I set them in the fridge to cool, and a while later, I took one out for dessert. And, well, it vanished rather quickly.

Did I care how many calories might possibly be concealed in that dish? Not likely. I only cared that it was creamy, chocolatey with a hint of rose, and utterly satisfying.

I'm sure I'll come up with other "decadent" treats this week with the rest of the whole milk, but I'd like to think they're still wholesome. It's not something I expect to repeat often, but I think it's worthwhile to enjoy it now and again.

And that's pudding it mildly.


At 5/21/2007 10:11 PM, Blogger Tina said...

LOVE raw whole milk! My friend Shawn has a source for raw milk, and uses it to make her own cheese, clotted cream, yogurt, butter, etc. YUM!

At 5/21/2007 10:12 PM, Blogger Tina said...

Oh, and your pudding sounds AMAZING!:-)

At 5/22/2007 7:38 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Ever since you told me about Shawn being able to get raw milk, I have been jealous! I'm sure this doesn't come close, but it's what I can do now. I'm hoping to explore cheese-making a little more this summer as I now have recipes for yogurt cheese and ricotta... I see a totally homemade lasagna in my future!

Oh, and yeah, the pudding was pretty good, too. ;-)


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