A craving for something sweet came over me the other night. I could've reached for one of the boxes of Girl Scout cookies we have tucked away in the freezer (the ones I try to pretend don't exist), but I was looking for something a bit more comforting. I looked in the fridge to find just a handful of ingredients: a few cups of milk, a half dozen eggs, and a pint of blueberries. There must be something I could do with these? And that's when I decided to research pudding recipes. I found a vanilla pudding that came together quickly, which I served with a blueberry compote. While rich and creamy in texture, the pudding remained a bit too soupy, even after hours of cooling. So, of course, I needed to try another batch to see if I could reach the perfect consistency. I figured there were a few solutions to this problem. The first was to lower the amount of milk. Less liquid, thicker pudding. The other was to include more egg yolks. These two modifications did the trick.
Having found a solid base to work with, I was ready to get playful. Lemon seemed the right direction, especially when paired with blueberries. Some zest and juice give it just the right amount of citrus flavor, without making it too zingy.
LEMON PUDDING WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE
For the lemon pudding
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ounces lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the blueberry compote
1 pint blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1. In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks to break them up.
2. Put milk and cornstarch mixture into a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
3. While whisking, slowly and carefully pour some of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks. Once half of the milk is whisked in, return the pot to the stove and stir in the egg mixture, along with the lemon juice and lemon zest.
4. Set pot over low heat and simmer, stirring consistently, until the pudding thickens. Once it reaches the desired consistency, stir in butter. Remove from heat.
5. Strain mixture into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve. Once cooled, transfer pudding to a container fitted with a lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 5 days.
6. Prepare the compote by transferring the blueberries to a medium saucepan. Pour sugar over blueberries and set pot over medium heat. Once the blueberries start to release their juices, give the pot a stir to mix in the sugar.
7. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the end, stir in lemon zest and thyme leaves. Let cool.
8. To serve, divide pudding into ramekins. Top with a spoonful of compote.