Pudding is a smooth and thick dessert made from various ingredients, including flour, milk or cream, sugar, and eggs.
Pudding is usually served hot with additional sauce like chocolate sauce or custard topping.
Puddings are also combined with other desserts, such as a baked banana pudding topped with vanilla ice cream or some fruits to become an exotic pudding dessert.
Although puddings are very easy to make, some may wonder why thickening the pudding is necessary.
After all, if you are going to eat it at home and not for a large audience, there should be no need to stress yourself over details that are considered unimportant.
In this article, we are going to look into the questions of why thickening pudding is necessary and how it is done.
Common Mistakes When Making Pudding
In general, there are two categories of mistakes that you can make when making a pudding.
The first one is a result of cooking techniques, and the other one is due to a lack of knowledge about how ingredients react with each other.
The most common mistake in making dessert puddings like chocolate cake or any cream puddings is undercooking.
It is essential to cook the puddings until they are well done to be safe to eat.
In other words, cooking a pudding means heating it through and through, which will kill all harmful or unhealthy bacteria present in it.
To do that, you need to check whether the puddings have been cooked all the way through or not.
Pudding can be considered to be well done if it will retain its shape after cooling.
If you see that your pudding is soft and has started to fall apart, it means that it needs more cooking time.
Another common mistake people make is overcooking.
The dessert will be overcooked and will not retain its shape after cooling down in such a case.
You can avoid this by checking whether your pudding is ready to get out of the oven in time before it reaches that point.
The over-cooking stage comes with a different problem called under baking, resulting in a rubbery pudding.
You won’t serve it as a dessert because people will not want to bite into something that feels like chewing on rubber bands.
That is why it’s important to check the pudding before it enters into an over-cooked area, which comes right after being well done.
As you can see, knowing when to take your puddings out of the oven and allowing them to cool down enough so that they do not overcook are two key elements in learning how to make a good pudding.
Why Your Pudding Gets Watery?
Whenever you make a pudding, it’s essential to understand that adding any additional liquid will lead to forming a thin layer of watery film on top and at the bottom of your puddings.
This phenomenon is based on chemistry principles that dictate that if you add one type of liquid (in our case, milk) into another (eggs), you get a third type, which is the mixture of both.
In this particular case, it’s an emulsion made up of fine droplets suspended in the liquid.
It’s important to realize that even if your puddings are thick and creamy looking, they will still be made up of watery film at the bottom.
This is in addition to the layer which will be on top of your puddings, and you can only get rid of it by cooking your puddings well enough or putting them into soup bowls before serving if they are not cooked all the way through.
How to Thicken Pudding?
After learning about the common mistakes people make when making a pudding, it’s time to learn how to thicken the pudding.
There are two ways to make your puddings thicker.
You can either thicken pudding by thickening the liquid you use or thicken it by adding something that starch is made out of.
You get a great option when it comes to thickeners in the form of cornstarch which is easily added into any puddings from chocolate cake to any cream puddings.
1 – Using Cornstarch
When making a thick pudding using cornstarch, the best way to do it is by dissolving corn starch into cold milk before adding any other ingredients.
You will want to avoid mixing liquid and powder because that can cause lumps that you won’t remove later on.
It’s important to add the exact amount of cornstarch you need to thicken your pudding because adding too much of it will cause the liquid in your puddings to turn away from making the smooth and creamy mixture you want.
It can also lead to a jelly or gum-like texture, which isn’t pleasant at all.
2 – Thickening Pudding Without Cornflour
The second fact you need to know is that it’s possible to thicken pudding without using cornflour.
It’s a good practice when you want your puddings to be all-natural, but keep in mind that milk that comes from cows is not naturally thick and will require additional help from other ingredients to gel fully.
To thicken puddings without using cornflour, you should use eggs and sugar in addition to milk.
This mixture will be set down into a firm substance that won’t curdle when mixed with other ingredients.
The bad news is that this method requires thorough cooking so that the egg can be cooked all the way through before adding any other ingredient to your puddings.
So as you can see, knowing how to make a good pudding is all about the right measurements and knowing what ingredients you should combine for your pudding recipe to come out exactly as you want it to.
It also takes some practice because some mistakes might not be noticeable even when they are made but still affect the overall outcome of your puddings.
3 – Using Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is a good alternative to cornflour if you want to avoid using it.
It’s made up of arrowroot, a starchy tuberous rhizome or underground stem that is highly valued for its thickening properties and is used in various recipes, especially custards, puddings, cream, sauces, and gravies.
Simply put, arrowroot powder is made out of grinding the dried tuberous rhizomes and then treating it with cooking soda and water to make a starch slurry.
It’s mainly used for making puddings because it keeps its consistency even when exposed to heat which most other starches tend to lose as they cook.
To use arrowroot powder to thicken pudding, you, first of all, have to dissolve it in water or some other liquid before adding it into your recipes.
It’s a good idea to note that arrowroot powder can be rather expensive than cornstarch, but it’s also a better thickening agent than cornstarch, which is why it’s more preferred for making a thicker pudding.
4 – Using Gelatin
Gelatin is also a good choice if you need your puddings to be thicker.
It’s a type of collagen that comes from animal sources like cattle, fish, or pig bones, and it’s used in various recipes since it has a wide variety of uses for cooking purposes.
For instance, gelatin can be used to thicken puddings by forming a squeaky, jiggly texture known as a sabayon or mousse.
In conclusion, pudding is a sweet dessert made from milk and usually contains eggs, sugar, gelatin, or another thickening agent.
As you can see, there are several ways of making your puddings thicker, so if you have trouble with this, then it’s best to try out all the methods mentioned above and find out which one gives you the best results for your puddings.