Pistachio Pudding Not From a Box

Okay, so maybe summer is not really pudding weather, but I’ve discovered that nursing homes know no seasons. Well, at least the nursing home where Mrs. S. still lives: it seems to be roughly the same temperature in there year-round.

Last week, Mrs. S. was doing poorly, really poorly, so poorly that we thought it might almost be time to say goodbye. I brought a hymnal and a King James Version of the Bible and the 1928 version of the Book of Common Prayer (she was raised and married in the Episcopal church down the street.) I cried and sang Abide with Me as she slept hour after hour.

But then, after I went around like a crepe-hanger telling everyone to go see her, it was close to the end, etc., she kind of perked up. She’s weaker and maybe a little more confused than she was before, but she is still with us. And she’s hungry, but not necessarily for institutional food, which, let’s be honest, isn’t so appetizing.

(Yesterday, I asked her what was for lunch, and she said, after some deliberation, “I can’t describe it. But it was disgusting.”)

Fair enough.

So, according to good Fannie Farmer philosophy, puddings cooked with milk and eggs are good for sick folks. They go down easy, thanks to their sweetness, and they are full of nourishment, at least, to my way of thinking. In any case, pudding makes Mrs. S. happy.

She likes pistachio pudding, but I was loathe to purchase the pudding mix that comes in a little box with the brand name that rhymes with “yellow.” So I did a little research and came up with this recipe. I think it’s kind of a winner.

Real Pistachio Pudding

begin by pureeing

1 cup shelled pistachios

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons milk

in a food processor until smooth.

Separately, in a saucepan, whisk together:

1 and 1/2 cups whole milk

2 large egg yolks

1/2 cup cream

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt (ONLY if pistachios are unsalted)

Stir in pistachio puree mixture, and whisk thoroughly.

Begin to cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until entire surface is bubbling and shiny-looking. Cook, whisking constantly, 30 seconds more. Remove from heat and whisk in

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

Press through a wire strainer. Pour into bowl or into 6 individual ramekins. Press plastic wrap or parchment paper to the surface of the hot pudding to prevent a skin forming and chill for at least 4 hours.

{a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream wouldn’t hurt, either.}

3 thoughts on “Pistachio Pudding Not From a Box

  1. Mrs. S’s description of lunch reminds me of Bill Murray’s P.A. announcement in the summer camp movie Meatballs: Attention. Here’s an update on tonight’s dinner. It was veal. I repeat, veal. The winner of tonight’s mystery meat contest is Jeffrey Corbin who guessed “some kind of beef.”

    Your description of the hours you spent sitting with her singing Abide with Me made me choke up a bit.

    Tim

  2. Beautiful. I love this way of nurture – ministering to someone’s soul through lovingly-made food. And man, that recipe does look like a winner! I haven’t had that boxed stuff for years and years but I really loved it growing up; your recipe sounds like it has the soul of the boxed stuff but a lot more substance. I’m gonna need to find me some pistachios, stat!

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