Vanilla Bean Pudding with a Heart of Darkness

Narrative by Liz & Mel
Recipes by JoAnn

Sookie’s vanilla existence was turned upside down when Bill Compton walked into Merlotte’s one fateful night. Since then, she’s seen more than her fair share of good and bad in the darkness. Would she choose differently given the chance?

Banana pudding is a staple of southern cuisine. The common version is repeated layers of sliced fresh bananas, vanilla custard, and Vanilla Wafers topped with whipped cream. This Vanilla Bean Pudding recipe is a nice contemporary alternative.

PREP TIME: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
1 large egg

1. Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While it is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean (if you’re replacing it with extract, don’t add it yet; if you’d like to toss the leftover vanilla bean pods in the pot with the simmering milk for an extra vanilla boost, go for it) in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, then whisk in the egg. Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time.

2. Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer (which will cook the cornstarch and egg fully). Stir in vanilla extract, if you’re using it and divide pudding among 6 dishes. Chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours.