I love pudding. Given an option, I’ll always choose the creamy thing to be eaten off a spoon. My favorite desserts are all spoonful sweets—butterscotch pudding, silky chocolate mousse, tiramisu, and peach jelly made with real fruit. It seems there is a cookbook for nearly everything these days so imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was no one-stop shop for spoonful desserts, no single cookbook that gathered these sweets into one place. I could find no pudding cookbooks—and very few no-bake cookbooks—and certainly nothing that included everything from homey pudding to elegant panna cotta to crowd-pleasing icebox cake. I wanted that book on my shelf, so I wrote it.
WHY NO-BAKE DESSERTS?
This book contains desserts that spend no time in the oven. Even the pie crusts in the icebox desserts chapter are no-bake. Why? Because it often seems like baked desserts get all the attention, and I wanted to throw this easy, pleasurable category of sweets its very own party. My favorite sort of dessert—pudding—is mostly a no-bake proposition. And although there are custards, rice puddings, and pots de crème that are baked, you won’t find any of those in this book.
NO MORE PUDDING POWDERS OR JELL-O BOXES! Puddings and fruit jellies are treats heavily associated with boxed mixes and preflavored powders. This is a bit silly, as people were making these homey sweets long before instant pudding in a box existed. I wanted to show how easy making pudding from scratch can be and inspire you to never buy another box of instant pudding. The same for fruit gelatin: Why use Jell-O from a box when you could make it just as easily from natural fruit juice thickened with plain gelatin? If you’ve ever eaten a chic dish of panna cotta at a restaurant you have probably sighed over its silky texture and wished you could make it at home. You can! Home cooks need to see how simple many restaurant-style desserts actually are, so I offer several varieties of panna cotta, mousse, and other so-called fancy desserts. The little secret of restaurant pastry kitchens is that these rich puddings are actually among the easiest, quickest desserts known to man or woman.
A DIVERSE WEALTH OF BAKELESS SWEETS No-bake desserts also showcase a wide variety of sweets from around the world, sweets that go beyond traditional Western cookies and cakes. They include candy, like marshmallows and brittle, and stovetop desserts from India, Thailand, China, and other countries’ cuisines, as most non-Western cultures don’t traditionally use ovens. No-bake desserts could also include simple uncooked fruit platters, as well as desserts that may leave your oven cold but call for previously baked store-bought goods, like meringues or crackers. The category of desserts that do not spend any time in the oven is so vast that there simply wasn’t room to include them all! So my task here was to look for recipes I loved. This is a book for me, first of all. I have extensively tasted and love each and every recipe in this book. I also talked with some of my fellow home cooks and cookbook authors, asking them for memories and good tips, seeking out their favorite homey stovetop desserts.
6 BAKELESS SWEETS
STIRRED PUDDINGS AND CUSTARDS
tempering a slurry //
Why do we “temper” a slurry of cornstarch and egg yolks? This process helps to gradually warm up the eggs, preparing them to cook evenly and smoothly. It’s like getting into a hot bath—it’s more comfortable to add a little bit of hot water at a time rather than plunging immediately into very hot water. If you dropped beaten egg yolks straight into a hot pudding, they would cook and form unpleasantly eggy lumps. Warming them, then gradually adding this prewarmed mixture to the hot pudding, helps the eggs incorporate smoothly into a pudding.
Flavor the pudding: Turn off the heat and gently whisk in the vanilla. If you would like to add just a touch more richness, stir in the butter. Chill: Immediately pour the hot pudding into the container. (If you notice lumps in the pudding, you can pour it through a fine-mesh sieve to make it smoother.) Cover the pudding with plastic wrap or buttered wax paper placed directly on the surface of the pudding (if you don’t like pudding skin). Put a lid on the dish and refrigerate it for 1 hour or until the pudding is completely cold before eating. Best eaten within three days.
EASY FLAVOR VARIATIONS
richer (yet still eggless) vanilla pudding
For a slightly richer pudding that still has no eggs, replace 1 cup (240 ml) of the whole milk with cream.
// SIMPLE CHOCOLATE PUDDING 00
simple citrus pudding
Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest instead of the vanilla extract. (For a zestier, tangier lemon pudding, try Lemon and Sour Cream Custard, page 000.)
simple cinnamon pudding
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, in addition to the vanilla extract.
simple maple pudding
Eliminate the sugar and stir in 1/4 cup (60 ml) Grade B maple syrup (see Note, page 000) with the vanilla extract after the pudding has thickened.
28 BAKELESS SWEETS
// SIMPLE VANILLA PUDDING 00
NUT & CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS
ROASTED PISTACHIO PUDDING When I was a kid, I loved pistachio pudding with all my heart. I remember ripping open the little packet of green dust and pouring it into a bowl of milk, then whipping up magical pistachio pudding—pale mint-green, with crystalline flecks of dried pistachio. This pudding evokes the nostalgia for that pistachio pudding, but it is so much better. Unlike the unreal color of the boxed pudding, it’s pale yellow-green, like real pistachios, which are not pure green, but shot through with brown and violet. It has the smooth richness of real cream and egg yolks, and the nutty finish of roasted pistachio nutmeats. It’s pistachio pudding all grown up, but still a little magical.
MAKES 4 CUPS (960 ML) OR EIGHT SERVINGS. GLUTEN-FREE. 3 cups (300 g) shell-on, roasted pistachios (see Note) 2/3 cup (130 g) sugar, divided 2 tablespoons water 21/2 cups (600 ml) whole milk, divided 1 cup (240 ml) cream 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4
2 large egg yolks 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Prepare the pistachios: Shell the pistachios. You should have approximately 1 1/3 cups (315 ml) pistachio nutmeats. Finely chop or grind a quarter (1/3 cup / 75 ml) of the nutmeats and set aside. Meanwhile, put a kettle of water on to boil. Place the remaining pistachio nuts in a ceramic or metal bowl. Pour the boiling water over them so they are completely covered. Let them steep for 15 minutes, then drain. Spread the hot pistachios out on a paper towel and use a second paper towel to rub them vigorously. Pick the nutmeats away from the papery skins, peeling stillattached skin away as necessary. (This is tedious but essential for flavor and for color; the skins will give a bitter taste to the pudding.) Create pistachio paste: Place the now skinless pistachios in the work bowl of a food processor. Add half of the sugar and the water and blend until you have a fine wet paste. Flavor the dairy: Put this paste in a 2-quart (2-L) saucepan and add 2 cups (480 ml) of the milk, the cream, and the remaining sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat. Make a cornstarch and egg yolk slurry: Put the cornstarch and salt in a 1-quart (1-L) mixing bowl, and whisk out any lumps. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk in the egg yolks. It is important that this mix be as smooth as you can make it. (To be really sure, reach into the bowl and gently rub out any lumps between your fingers.) Warm the dairy: Strain the pistachio-milk mixture and discard the pistachio solids. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and warm over medium heat until the surface of the milk begins to vibrate. Temper the slurry: Pour 1 cup (240 ml) of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the slurry and whisk vigorously to combine. They should come together smoothly, with no lumps. If you see any, add a little more liquid and whisk them out. RECIPE CONTINUES
54 BAKELESS SWEETS
DEEPEST CHOCOLATE MOUSSE If you want really rich chocolate pudding—deep dark chocolate pudding—then start here. This comes together in just a few minutes, blending up in a flash. It’s deeply rich, a little boozy, with a touch of salt. It’s the fastest way to a fantastic chocolate fix.
MAKES SIX 1/3 -CUP (75-ML) SERVINGS. GLUTEN-FREE. 3/4
cup (180 ml) whole milk
cup (60 ml) freshly brewed strong coffee
6 ounces (170 g) good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
Warm the milk and coffee over medium heat in a small saucepan until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a glass or metal mixing bowl and pour the milk over it. Stir once, then let it stand for 5 minutes. Scrape the milk and chocolate into a blender and add the eggs, rum, vanilla, and salt. Blend until well-combined. Pour into 6 small cups or a shallow 1-quart (1-L) bowl and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4
Unsweetened whipped cream, to serve
CHOCOLATE COCONUT MOUSSE This is another dark, deep chocolate mousse—and it is completely vegan and dairy-free. This is a classic preparation in vegan circles, but whether you follow such a diet or not, you’ll appreciate its light, silken texture and pure chocolate taste.
MAKES SIX 1/2-CUP (120-ML) SERVINGS. GLUTEN-FREE. DAIRY-FREE. 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk
In a heavy saucepan, warm the coconut milk over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, then pour the coconut milk over the chocolate. Stir once then let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
Put the tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a blender and whiz until smooth. Pour in the coconut milk and chocolate and blend un 12 ounces (340 g) soft or silken tofu til smooth. Pour into small cups and chill for 2 hours or until firm. 1/4 cup (60 ml) grade B maple syrup Serve with a dusting of cinnamon. 6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
(see Note, page 000)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt Cinnamon, to serve
// DEEPEST CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PXX
MOUSE & BLENDER PUDDINGS
125 recipes for delicious desserts that will satisfy a sweet tooth without having to even think about turning on the oven.