Mmmmm… peanut butter.
In North America, unless you had an allergy, chances are you grew up with peanut butter as a big part of your childhood — in sandwiches, on crackers, with apple slices, smeared over celery sticks — since it was sweet and tasty and easy for kids to serve themselves. Parents don’t have to worry about their rug rats burning down the house while making themselves a PB & J for lunch.
I dunno ’bout the rest of you, but I never really got over those formative years of peanut butter love. These days I normally go for natural, organic foodstuffs, but when it comes to peanut butter I’m always reaching for the Kraft. That brand with the two waving teddy bears on the jar… I know you know what I’m talking about — the stuff that nostalgia is made of!
Anyways, turns out that fall is peanut harvest season, which is pretty neat, since peanuts have always been a sort of “season-less” food in my convenience-of-the-Western-supermarket consciousness. Turns out they’re technically not. Duh.
Other cool facts about peanut butter:
1) The first record of peanut butter production comes from Montreal in 1884
2) Peanut paste is used as a base in a super-nutrient-packed overseas famine relief food called Plumpy’nut
3) Peanuts are actually legumes (like peas, beans, and lentils) and not nuts at all!
Now that I’ve sufficiently shaken your world with the swift fist of knowledge, let’s talk about peanut butter pudding: the adult way of eating peanut butter off a spoon.
This peanut butter pudding recipe might sound a little complicated at first, but it’s actually really easy and delicious! There’s only one part of the pudding prep that requires some serious attention, but once you’re done you’ll be patting yourself on the back and thinking, “What was I worried about anyways?”
For this recipe I used good ol’ Kraft smooth peanut butter since I thought it would work better than crunchy peanut butter (but, seriously, I’m a die-hard crunchy peanut butter lover to the end), and then added some cinnamon and spices to “mature” the flavour a little bit. If you don’t want that “Reese’s Pieces” sort of sweetness in your pudding, feel free to use an all-natural type.
Peanut Butter Spice Pudding
*adapted from Cooking Light
- 2 & 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup half & half cream
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- crushed peanuts, for garnish
- ice cubes, enough for an ice bath
In a wide-bottomed bowl, measure and mix together your sugar, cornstarch, and spices. In a separate cup, beat together two eggs and 1/4 cup half & half. Whisk the egg mixture and the sugar+cornstarch mixture together to a smooth, even consistency.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, carefully bring the milk and vanilla to a boil — you don’t want to burn the bottom.
While you’re waiting for the milk to boil, prepare an ice bath. It needs to be larger than the bowl you plan to cool your pudding in — so a capacity of at least 8 cups or so. I just used a huge pot that I placed in my sink and filled it with ice and cold water.
Now, as soon as the milk shows the first sign of boiling, remove from the heat and pour, while whisking constantly, half of the hot milk into the bowl with the egg+sugar mixture. This will temper the eggs so as they don’t seize up or curdle when you cook them. Whisk whisk whisk until everything is well blended, then return the rest of the milk to the stove and gently pour the tempered egg mixture into the stove top pot.
Cook, still whisking constantly, over medium heat until you feel the cornstarch in the pudding start to thicken. Trust me — you’ll feel it. Keep whisking for another minute.
Next, pour the hot pudding into a heat-safe bowl, and place the bowl in the ice bath.
Whisk in your peanut butter.
Stir every couple minutes or so for the next 20 minutes, until the pudding has cooled sufficiently. If you don’t stir the pudding while it cools, it can develop a grainy texture, which is gross. After 20 minutes, transfer the pudding to an airtight container and refrigerate for two hours. Before serving, sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
The pudding should keep for at least three to four days.
I swear, when I’m snacking on peanut butter pudding, I get overwhelmed with this feeling that the only thing else I could ever need is a machine to do my homework for me, and my life would be perfect. Yum!