A Pudding Sort of Night

Many years ago I read an article in Victoria magazine about the comfort of homemade pudding. The author reminisced about being sick as a child, tucked up in bed under quilts, and how her mother would make her all sorts of wonderful puddings, thick, creamy and oh so comforting.

I was craving such things tonight as rain pelted the windows and gusts of wind found invisible cracks in the house to shimmy through and make me cold. I love my renovated chicken barn apartment, but it's wicked cold in the winter! I had to chuckle at myself garbed in wool coat, scarf and slippers while I cooked. :-)

I turned on NCIS reruns to keep me company then pulled out my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook and found a recipe for vanilla pudding that sounded wonderfully warm and soothing.

I mixed white sugar, cornstarch and a bit of salt in the bottom of a saucepan.

Added milk and brought it slowly to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Then I poured most of it into two egg yolks and stirred like mad to incorporate it quickly.

It turned a rich creamy color then thickened beautifully after I returned it to the heat for another minute of boiling. I cooled it between fridge and freezer (I got impatient! :-)) then dipped my spoon in for a taste. Bliss. Smooth and silky on the tongue with good vanilla flavor. Mmm.

Inspired, I proceeded to turn it into pumpkin pudding by adding pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cardamom and cinnamon.


Then I cubed some gingerbread, whipped some cream, and layered everything into pumpkin gingerbread trifle topped with a Swedish ginger cookie and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Assembled in individual glasses instead of one big bowl, the trifles will be perfect to take to work for mid-morning coffee break. Even a cubicle can be cheery with such things to look forward to. :-)

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
(Adapted from Paula Deen)


2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 recipe vanilla pudding (see below)
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped and sweetened
1/2 cup Swedish ginger cookies

Vanilla Pudding
(From Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook)

1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar cornstarch and salt in 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into eggs yolks. Stir into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute, remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into dish, cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.

Directions for Trifle:

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped cream. Sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.


  1. That looks delicious! Anything with pumpkin for me... I've actually never made a pudding before. I might have to try it!

  2. Pumpkin....everything. I am completely overwhelmed with the sheer variety of things to do with pumpkin puree. Looks good. kitchenbutterfly.com

  3. It sure is, Lauryl! I ate it for lunch today and oooee! :-) I don't remember making pudding before either, but it was so easy and WAY better than the boxed stuff. :-)

  4. I agree Ozoz!! :-) Bring on the pumpkin! :-)

  5. Wow. This is basically heaven. I love pudding. And more than that, I love pumpkin. You have totally rocked my world by combining the two!

  6. Mmmm, pudding. This sounds very nice. They, the weather gods, are calling for a mountain of snow this weekend. Pudding might take our minds off of the snow needing to be shoveled.