Mousse & Pudding

Plum Cardamom Pudding

Whip up a quick pastry cream to make the last of your stone fruit feel extra stylish. # 189: Plum Cardamom Pudding

Alright folks – I caved and bought an air purifier. Not being able to leave your apartment or open any windows for over two days in a row will do things to your sanity. Luckily there’s pastry cream, a cupboard full of spices and some ripe plums to distract me. I wish I could send some to all the first responders trying to curb the crazy west coast fires – they 110% deserve some pudding.

Plum and cardamom go together like milk and cookies! They both have mellow, floral flavors which compliment each other well. (This also supports my theory that you can sneak cardamom into literally any dessert.)

I sometimes will literally google “_____ dessert recipes,” filling in the blank with whatever ripe fruit is sitting on my counter. With plums, I was inundated with upside-down cakes and crumbles of all shapes and sizes. While they all sounded delicious (I’m still OBSESSED with the plum crumble bars I made a few months ago), I wanted something a little different.

Plums show up very little in all the baking books on my shelf, so I doubled down my google attempt. Feeling uninspired, I tried thinking of what I wanted to eat instead and pudding popped instantly to mind! Apparently I’m always craving pudding on some normally unacknowledged level.

Pastry cream is thick and rich, so eating it on it’s own as a pudding cup can be a bit much. Mixing in a light spice and fresh fruit helps to cut the decadence. Chopped pistachios add a fun texture contrast! I called an audible when I served it and added chocolate chips too. 10/10, would recommend.

Love a short ingredient list! I cut the quantities in half to just make two servings:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 1 TBS butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Looks like an alien with a goatee…

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cardamom and cornstarch til smooth.

Heat the milk and vanilla still scalded (tiny bubbles along the edges!)

While whisking, add a small splash of the hot milk into the egg mixture. This will temper the eggs so you don’t end up with a bowl of sweet scrambled eggs. Slowly add in the rest of the milk, still whisking, then pour the whole thing back into the same pot you heated the milk in and whisk gently over medium heat.

Warning: Magic will occur. It will thicken after about 2-3 minutes and blow your mind! When cornstarch is heated above 200F or so, the starch builds up an elaborate structure that traps liquid, making the overall mixture seem thicker. It literally eats up the liquid and hides it away.

Straining it isn’t usually necessary but juuuussst in case you have some scrambled eggs hiding, it’ll save your texture.

Pour it into whatever small glass containers you have lying around and pop them in the fridge for at least an hour to finish setting.

A crunchy green plum or an apple? We went to the produce shop at Market Hall in Oakland and got a handful of every type of plum they had. It was definitely a treat-yo-self moment! I can’t remember any of the names now sadly, but the green ones were crunchy even when ripe, with a subtly sweet flavor. The pink ones were super good – sweeter and softer than the green ones. I’m so used to the dark magenta/purple ones from my mom’s backyard that these seemed like a whole different kind of fruit!

Happy munching!

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