Friday, February 08, 2008

Bamboo Honey Vanilla Pudding (Japanese Knotweed)

I have been making this pudding, or something like it, almost every week for the last three months. Bamboo honey is made from Japanese knotweed, or Polygonum cuspidatum which looks like bamboo, but is unrelated. The knotweeds are related to buckwheat, and the honey, like buckwheat honey, is dark, spicy, and rich in life-giving antioxidants. Bamboo honey is milder and fruitier than buckwheat honey, and perfectly suited for any desserts made with milk, cream, or yogurt. The Yiddish word for knotweed is גריקע (grike), so Japanese knotweed is probably יאַפּאַנישער גריקע (yapanisher grike). The word in Chinese is 虎杖 Hǔzhàng. Ulrike will be rounding up other herbal gifts of the weekend at Kuchenlatein.

Honey Vanilla Pudding

6 cups milk

1 fat bourbon vanilla bean

1 ½ cups bamboo honey, or other honey, or agave

pinch salt

2 1/2 ounces cornstarch (1/2 cup, lightly spooned)

2 eggs

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.

I get bamboo honey from Tremblay Apiaries at Union Square on Fridays, and Bourbon vanilla beans and extract from The Vanilla Company.



Blogger ostwestwind said...

I hope I can get this honey in Germany. Thanks for sharing the recipe for Weekend Herb Blogging with us.
Ulrike from Küchenlatein

6:51 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

I hope you can! It is wonderful for many things. Thanks for your efforts on behalf of herb blogging!

1:33 PM  
Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

I've never seen bamboo honey, but it sounds interesting. Love the sound of your chocolate agave glaze too!

9:07 PM  

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