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There are four major types and ways to prepare puddings: boiled, baked, steamed and chilled in the refrigerator until it gels. Some recipes can be prepared by either one method or another or through a combination of methods.
Betty: Dating back to colonial America, Betties are baked puddings made of layers of sugared and spiced fruit and buttered bread crumbs. Though many fruits can be used, the most popular is Apple Brown Betty, made with sliced apples and brown sugar.
Blancmange (bluh-MAHNZH): A simple cooked pudding made of milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla. Gelatin may be substituted for the cornstarch. The hot mixture is poured into a mold, chilled, unmolded and served with a sweet sauce or fresh fruit. The original blancmange used pulverized almonds in lieu of cornstarch.
Boiled Pudding: Boiled puddings are the easiest and quickest to prepare. They are constantly stirred on the stovetop until thickened and can be made in such favorite flavors as vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch.
SARAH SAYS: Chocolate pudding can be called the chocolate version of classic stirred custard thickened with cornstarch. Typically, cornstarch custard is made the same way by cooking a mixture of sugar, cornstarch, eggs (or egg yolks), a bit of salt, and a dairy liquid in a saucepan on the stovetop until thickened. If a boiled pudding recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate, try substituting it with bittersweet, which will give a smoother texture. The reasons? First, unsweetened chocolate has a lower percentage of cocoa butter than bittersweet, resulting in less of a smooth texture. Second, bittersweet contains some milk solids and lecithin (an emulsifier), both of which create a smoother, creamier texture and mouthfeel.
Bread Pudding: Bread pudding consists of bread, milk (or cream), sugar, eggs, and (sometimes) flavorings, and typically baked. But they could be put together in any number of different ways, yielding very different results, from baked custard with slices of French bread on top to a rich, treacle pudding with sauce--really more of a pudding cake. In all, bread pudding should have a rich and silky a not-too-sweet pudding/custard, with some of the bread having been soaked and dissolved in it. Its golden brown top should be made up of pieces of bread with great chew or be crispy. Bread pudding should wobble like a Jell-O mold when removed from the oven, as continues to cook after removal. Remove the pudding from the oven just as it begins to inflate and rise up high in the pan. A knife inserted into the custard should not come out clean but be partially coated with half-set custard.
Diplomat Pudding: This cold, molded dessert consists of alternating layers of liqueur-soaked ladyfingers (or sponge cake), jam, chopped candied fruit and custard (sometimes combined with whipped cream). Diplomat pudding is usually garnished with whipped-cream rosettes and candied fruit.
Hasty Pudding: This easy, versatile dish was enjoyed by our Colonial ancestors both in the morning for breakfast and after dinner for dessert. It's a simple cornmeal mush made with water or milk and sometimes sweetened with molasses, maple syrup or honey. If the dish isn't sweetened during cooking, a syrup or sweet sauce usually accompanies a hasty pudding. It's served hot, sometimes with milk or cream.
Indian Pudding: This hearty, old-fashioned dessert originated in New England. It's a spicy, cornmeal-molasses baked pudding that can sometimes include sliced apples. Indian pudding is usually served with whipped cream, hard sauce or ice cream.
Mixes: Dry pudding mixes take on two forms — cooked and instant — which indicate whether the formula requires a pre-gelatinized or cook-up starch. They are made on the stovetop.
Mousse: is the modern day version of pudding, with a smooth and creamy texture. Originally, the word mousse came from the French term meaning "foam" or "froth". It is a rich, airy dish that can be either sweet or savory and hot or cold. Cold dessert mousses are usually made with fruit puree or a flavoring such as chocolate or lemon. A mousse is similar to a Bavarian crème, which is a custard or a chiffon, in that it is light and airy due to the addition of whipped egg whites, whipped cream or both. They are usually fortified with gelatin (not as much in chocolate mousse recipes) because they are generally softer than the Bavarian or chiffon. Mousses tend to be too soft to mold into a semi-rigid form, i.e. a gelatin dessert, so they are usually piped into the final dessert presentation and garnished with additional whipped cream just prior to serving. HOW TO EGGS - COOKING TECHNIQUES FOR SAFE EGGS IN RECIPES
Unbaked flourless cakes include Mousse cakes, which are typically molded in a dessert ring or springform pan then simply chilled before unmolding. The cakes often have a crust or bottom layer that's baked before the mousse is added. Bottom layers can include baked genoise or biscuit cake layer, which can also be layered alternately with the mousse.
Panna Cotta or Pannacotta: Panna cotta is a traditional Piemontese recipe -- the name means "cooked cream" in Italian. There are numerous variations on this wonderful light and delicious recipe, but I find that this recipe turns out especially creamy and smooth, as well as flavorful. Panna Cotta is typically made by boiling together milk or buttermilk, cream and sugar, and then mixing it with gelatin and flavoring it, often with vanilla. A perfect panna cotta should have just enough gelatin that it seems the dairy is barely holding together.
Plum Pudding: The name of this specialty comes from the fact that it originally contained plums, which it no longer does. Instead, this traditional Christmas dessert is made with suet, dried currants, raisins, almonds and spices. It's either steamed or boiled and is often served warm, flamed with brandy or rum, and accompanied by hard sauce. Steamed puddings are made by mixing the ingredients and then pouring into a tightly covered mold. It then goes into a waterbath which is fashioned from a pot where the water only comes up 2/3 of the sides of the mold. The pudding is then steamed on the stovetop for hours with the heat on low until done.
Rice Pudding: At its best, rice pudding is simple, lightly sweet, and tastes of its primary component: rice. Medium or long-grained rice works best. Some recipe cook the rice and water in a covered pot first, followed by simmering the cooked rice uncovered in the dairy mixture. Others have you bake the recipe.
Saxon Pudding: An English steamed brown bread pudding, uses dark rye bread, chocolate, almonds and crystallized fruit. Yorkshire pudding, made from cooked beef drippings, commonly accompanies a Sunday lunch of roast beef, lamb or pork. It is served with gravy, mint sauce or applesauce
Steamed Pudding: A sweet or savory pudding that is cooked (usually in a special steamed-pudding mold) on a rack over boiling water in a covered pot on a stovetop, taking hours to cook. Although steamed pudding can be cooked in a variety of containers, there are special steamed-pudding molds with decorative sides and bottom, as well as a lid that clamps tightly shut. Many molds also have a central tube (like an angel-food cake pan) that provides more even heat distribution, thereby cooking the pudding more evenly. When it is unmolded the pudding retains its decorative shape. They're customarily served with a sauce.
Summer Pudding: This classic English dessert consists of sweetened fresh berries and often red currants that are briefly cooked, then cooled before being placed in a bread-lined casserole dish. The fruit is topped with additional slices of bread, covered with a plate and weighted overnight in the refrigerator. The cold dessert is unmolded and served with whipped cream.
Yorkshire Pudding: British roast beef wouldn't be complete without Yorkshire pudding, which is like a cross between a popover and a soufflé and not at all like a pudding. It's made with a batter of eggs, milk and flour, baked in beef drippings until puffy, crisp and golden brown. It may be prepared in a shallow baking dish, muffin tins or other small containers, or in the same pan as the roast. Like a hot soufflé, Yorkshire pudding will deflate shortly after it's removed from the oven. This specialty takes its name from England's northern county of Yorkshire.
FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Mediterranean cooks make sweet, rich rice puddings using whole or ground rice flavored with cinnamon stick, lemon peel, orange blossom, honey, pistachio, almonds or hazelnuts.
Turkish fried semolina pudding, a pale brown, rich, soft pudding with pine nuts and vanilla; and Tunisian couscous pudding made from semolina, nuts, dates, rose water, seasonal fruits, pomegranate seeds and black raisins.
Indian sweet, rich, creamy puddings may be chilled or hot — cream, rice, tapioca, milk, vermicelli and carrot bases are flavored with ghee, nuts, rose petals, kewra essence, golden raisins and green cardamom. Halwa pudding contains grated carrots cooked in milk until tender, with ghee, cashews, golden raisins, sweetened condensed milk, cardamom and nutmeg. Milk-based payasams contain semolina, green split peas or vermicelli, flavored with spices and nuts and thickened with tapioca flour or almond paste.
In Southeast Asia, puddings include: bubur pulot hitam, a sweet, chewy, sticky, black rice pudding from Malaysia; Cambodia’s corn pudding; Indonesia’s steamed green-colored coconut and egg pudding; Burma’s creamy sago pudding; and Philippines’ sweet fruit and yam pudding. Latin American flan, a caramel pudding, varies regionally, and may include cinnamon, grated lemon rind and coconut, blanched almonds, cocoa or dark rum. Sweet, caramelized milk pudding, or dulce de leche, is made with simmered milk, sugar and vanilla and/or condensed milk. Mexican capirotada, a hot, baked bread pudding has repeated layers of toasted, cubed white bread, butter and a layer of sliced apples, almonds, raisins and coarsely chopped cheese, topped with piloncillo syrup (brown sugar) and spices.
Caribbean puddings include: carrot with raisins, allspice and dark rum served warm with hot rum sauce; banana and breadfuit; chipolata made with cream, vanilla and candied fruit topped with maraschino cherries; and Christmas steamed pudding served with brandy butter or brandy sauce. from Weeks Publishing Co.
Some information--Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron's Educational Series, from The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst