For a sweet treat to top off tonight's tempeh chili supper, I chose a recipe for Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding from an April 2006 issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine. To add my own little spin, I subbed coconut oil for butter and added in shredded unsweetened coconut. The aroma and flavor that these simple changes made triggered childhood memories of my Grandma Grace's coconut pudding. She used a coconut dessert mix from my Grandpa Bill's Rawleigh inventory. This is a photo of Grandpa standing beside a 1941 Plymouth Panel Delivery that he used on his Rawleigh route in earlier years.
Below is a photo of the back end of grandpa's 1954 Chevrolet Handyman Station Wagon that he used when I was about 9 or 10 years old. My brother Rick is holding a cat and my brother Ron is in the background. The photo was taken at the farm where I grew up 10 miles southeast of Brainerd. (Photos courtesy of my sister Marlene. Identification of car's make and model courtesy of my husband Dick.)
The car grandpa owned is like the one in the illustration below minus the side chrome and it was painted two-tone with a white top rather than a solid color.
Although this coconut pudding turned out to be a luscious treat, the memories it brought to mind were a precious, unexpected bonus.
2/3 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup.)
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (if making chocolate pudding)
2 ½ cups milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces (or 1 tbsp coconut oil)
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut (if making coconut pudding)
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. If making chocolate pudding, add cocoa powder. Very gradually (a few tablespoons at a time), whisk in milk taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. (Instead, to prevent the pudding from burning, I cooked it in the top of a double boiler stirring frequently once it starts to thicken.) Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Stir butter (or coconut oil), vanilla, and coconut (if making coconut pudding) into hot pudding. Chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Yeah, right. I say eat it while it’s warm. Serves 4 (or 6 for just a little treat... but still enough to thoroughly enjoy).