I have a hard time using recipes where the writer tells me to use a store-bought, packaged item and follow the directions on the box. I almost always discount the recipe. I spend a lot of time cooking things from scratch for myself, and I feel it’s a cop-out to use pre-packaged foods. Especially when the ingredients are simple enough, and you probably have them in your pantry already.
I’ve recently relaxed a bit on my fight with my conscience about made-from-scratch and pre-packaged items. Just a little bit. Items I can now let myself buy include pre-mixed salad, store-made hummus and baked goods such as bread and bagels. Sometimes its just way more convenient to have these items on hand.
I’m severely lactose-intolerant though, so I do have to be discriminatory about what things I can buy. My aversion to pre-packaged items started primarily out of need and not desire. I can’t have any foods that contain milk ingredients, whey, casein, butter and any other variations of these words that get mixed around and hidden in long ingredient list. I didn’t always avoid pre-packaged – it’s just become a necessity. Once a long list of things I could buy in a store already made has now dwindled to very little. As time has gone on though, I’ve spent a lot of time cooking from scratch due to necessity and have come to prefer it. Maybe it’s because it makes me feel more noble, or I’m just being pretentious. Either way, I like the satisfaction of making my own foods from scratch.
I just posted a recipe called Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie. I made this on a cold night when I didn’t want to go to the store to get ingredients because it was too darn cold. My plan that night was to make something with ingredients I already had on hand and that needed to be used. I wouldn’t normaly use a store-bought package of pudding, but I did that night because I had it and needed to use it. It had been sitting in my cupboard in a plastic container because I’d already opened it, but desided not to use it then because I felt I could make it myself.
Long story short, I felt so guilty writing a post that was exactly what I hate to come across. I tried to make it better by writing out the preparation steps of pre-packaged pudding, and not tell you to follow the instructions on the box. It’s eaten away at me all day now, and I was contemplating finding a recipe for pudding from scratch and then editing my post. Then a food blog I follow, A Full Measure of Happiness, posted a recipe called Easy Chocolate Pudding. I saw this and immediately ran to my kitchen to make it. Since I didn’t need to turn it into a pie, I made a pudding parfait. It’s like there was divine intervention telling me to do the right thing and set things straight. The recipe was exactly what she said – really easy, really tasty.
I’ll leave the decision up to you – make my pie using a store-bought pudding mix or make the pudding from scratch (please just make my pie though, it’s really great, I promise!). Maybe you prefer pudding from a box? Maybe you like to make your own pudding from scratch. Whichever you choose, the pie will be good. I’ll just feel better about the quality of recipes I post if I give both options.
Lactose-Free Chocolate Pudding
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 10 minutes
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup milk (I used lactose free skim milk)
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegan margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Pour 1 cup milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. While the milk is on the stove, combine the cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar and salt with the remaining 1/2 cup milk.
3. When the milk has started to boil, turn the heat down to low-medium and add the cornstarch mixture.
4. Stir constantly until the pudding starts to thicken.
5. One the pudding has thickened, remove from heat. Add the margarine and vanilla and stir.
6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring twice.
7. If you’re using the pudding immediately, pour into a bowl and enjoy. If saving this pudding for later, cover with plastic wrap laid directly on top of the pudding. This will avoid a skin forming on top of the pudding.
(Adapted from Easy Chocolate Pudding from A Full Measure of Happiness at http://www.fullmeasureofhappiness.com/2012/01/24/easy-chocolate-pudding/)