Bamboo Honey Vanilla Pudding (Japanese Knotweed)
Honey Vanilla Pudding
6 cups milk
1 fat bourbon vanilla bean
1 ½ cups bamboo honey, or other honey, or agave
2 1/2 ounces cornstarch (1/2 cup, lightly spooned)
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla-scented bourbon, or vanilla, or bourbon, or neither
Pour five cups of the milk into a large, heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk. Add the vanilla pod, honey, and salt, and bring to the simmer, stirring with a flat-bottomed whisk, or other suitable implement.
Combine the remaining one cup of milk with the cornstarch (if you have a medium-sized bowl with a pouring spout, that is just the ticket), and whisk well. Add the eggs and whisk to combine.
When the hot milk begins to boil, ladle two or three cups into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Now pour the tempered cornstarch mixture into the saucepan, and continue whisking until it thickens and returns to the boil. This will take about five minutes and is the only little bit of effort this recipe demands. Remove the pan from heat, but don’t stop whisking just yet. Add the butter and bourbon if you are using it and whisk to combine. Pour the pudding into about eight little bowls or glasses, or a serving bowl. This is the part of the recipe where almost all cookbooks will advise you to cover the surface if you do not want the pudding to form a skin. Whom do they think they are fooling? Of course you want the pudding to form a skin! The skin is really the whole point of the exercise. And the honey and vanilla, of course. Chill the puddings and serve as is, or with cream, or even just with some wonderful organic whole milk. If you happen just to have made some chocolate agave glaze, I don’t see how that could hurt. You may also substitute agave for the honey to make a lighter, low-glycemic version that is also wonderful.