Because I had 2 egg yolks in my fridge and no ice cream, I made this ginger-coconut-vanilla pudding. Forgive the horrible picture--it looks better than that, especially with a generous showering of crunchy toppings. The instructions are written for those of us who don't own double-boilers--use one if you have one! —Raquelita
egg yolks (one whole egg is also fine)
1 3/4 cups
milk (I actually use skim from powder, use what you have on hand)
vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
freshly grated ginger (from about 1/2 inch knob), with any juice that was released
crystallized chopped ginger
banana chips, crumbled (optional, for topping)
2 or more
extra toppings:dried fruits, chocolate shavings, toasted coconut, granola, graham crackers
Heat all the milk minus a few tablespoons (which should be kept chilled) with the vanilla bean and seeds, ginger and coconut over low heat for about 10 minutes. Slow and low heat will infuse the flavors better.
While the milk is infusing, in a large heat-proof bowl whisk the cornstarch and egg yolks together until they are a paste. Then whisk in the sugar, beating until light and pasty. Splash in the cold milk you have reserved and whisk till smooth.
If the milk is not bubbling, increase the heat and watch it carefully until bubbles form around the sides. Put a separate pot of water on to boil (it will be the bottom of a double boiler).
Strain a little (a few tablespoons' worth) of the milk into the egg-cornstarch mixture and whisk. Repeat with a little more. This tempers the eggs. Strain the rest of the milk in and whisk till smooth.
Set the mixture over the boiling water bath. You could use a real double-boiler, but any apparatus you can think of that sets just the bottom of the mixture into the hot water works fine. Heat the mixture for at least 5 minutes (it may never actively boil). It will thicken considerably and noticeably. It's ready when you can run your finger along the back of the cooking spoon and no drips break that clean line.
Off the heat, add a dot of unsalted butter and a pinch of salt, stirring to melt and incorporate. Vanilla extract would be added here if you didn't use a vanilla bean.
Strain into two teacups or custard cups.
Chill until set (several hours). Sprinkle with crystallized ginger and banana chip crumbs and any of the other recommended toppings. Treat it like ice cream, it benefits from the extra texture.