Thursday, December 10, 2015
Individual Vanilla Pudding Parfaits
Vanilla pudding parfaits are a simple and delicious dessert that require very little effort yet are sure to impress. Homemade vanilla pudding can best be described as silky, creamy, and amaaazing! Add some lightly sweetened whipped cream, crunchy toasted cookie crumbs, and fresh, ripe fruit to the pudding and you have yourself one beautiful, easy dessert. Trust me when I tell you that taking the time to make this dessert from scratch, using quality ingredients and a little bit of love, that it will be absolutely worth it. So yummy!!
As I often tell you guys, this dessert is totally customizable. You can substitute whatever your favorite flavor of pudding is, change what kind of cookie crumbs you use, and switch up the fruit to what is in season or even use candy. Try chocolate pudding with Oreo cookie crumbs and gummy worms for a worms and dirt theme or butterscotch pudding with cinnamon graham crackers and sliced bananas for a banana cream pie parfait! Mmm come to think of it, using crushed snickerdoodle cookies in this version of the recipe would have been delicious! Kids go wild for this dessert, especially if you let them assemble it themselves. This is a great stress free recipe for the holidays that your guests, kids and adults alike will love.
If you are looking for an equally impressive but slightly richer version of this dessert, check out my black forest trifle recipe from a couple of years ago. There is a great chocolate pudding recipe over there or you could take that concept and apply it to this recipe just by adding some pound cake! I hope you enjoy!
Individual Vanilla Pudding Parfaits
3 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp butter, divided
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar
6 graham cracker cookies
Fresh berries of your choice
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, salt, 1/2 cup milk, the eggs, and egg yolk until well combined. In a medium pot, heat the remaining milk and remaining sugar over medium heat until hot and the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the pot from the heat and slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture until well combined. Be very careful to do this slowly so that you do not scramble your eggs.
Pour this mixture back into the pot and place it over medium heat again. Stir the pudding constantly and as the pudding heats up and begins to bubble it will thicken. Once the pudding coats the back of a spoon and it holds a solid line when you drag your finger across the spoon, it is done. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of butter until completely combined.
Transfer the pudding to a clean bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap right against the top of the pudding so that a skin does not form. An optional step here is to pass the pudding through a sieve into the bowl, if you think you have little lumps of cooked egg or sugar clumps in your pudding.
Place the pudding in the refrigerator to cool completely. This will take a few hours.
To crush the graham cracker cookies, place them in a zipper baggie and smash them with a mallet, rolling pin, or your hands. They can be as finely crushed or as chunky as you wish. Toss the graham crackers with 2 tbsp of melted butter. Optionally you can toast this mixture on a baking sheet at 350F for about 5 to 8 minutes. This step enhances the flavor of the graham crackers.
Combine the heavy cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl and whip to soft peaks. Take about 1/3 of the whipped cream and fold it through the cooled pudding mixture until just barely combined.
To serve, you can either do it buffet style and let your guest create their own pudding parfaits or you can assemble them yourself and serve. Just put layers of graham cracker crumbs, pudding, whipped cream, and fresh berries into little bowls, small mason jars, or dessert dishes.