Oh the Snack Pack. This rich pudding treat is number eight on my list of childhood goodies remade. Not something I had often as a child, but still full of memories. The “ziiiip!” sound of pulling the tab off the top of the cup, licking the extra pudding off the shiny plastic underside of the top and, of course, sprinkling crumbled Oreos and gummy worms on chocolate pudding to make “dirt cups.” Those were the good ol’ days, when eating something made to look like dirt was fun.
Hunt’s (yes, the ketchup people) brought the Snack Pack to market for the first time in 1968. It was originally sold in individual aluminum cans, the switch to the plastic cups we know today didn’t happen until 1984. I actually like my pudding in a bowl… but what do I know?
This recipe is 100% Smitten Kitchen, I really enjoy it just the way it is, which is very rare for me. It is just a very simple recipe that is delicious on it’s own, or used as a blank canvas for some of your other favorite flavors. I stirred some raspberry preserve into a bowl of this stuff and it was pure heaven. Dress it up or dress it down, this super basic dessert would be easy to throw together for a potluck or fancy shmancy dinner party – and it’s great for your gluten free holiday guests!
Baker’s Tip: Do not cook the pudding too long after adding the cornstarch/egg mixture. I would pull it off the stove immediately after it starts to simmer, 30 seconds after at the latest. Any longer than this and you will end up with a texture closer to very firm jello, believe me… it isn’t very tasty.
Vanilla Bean Pudding from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 3 cups
- 2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
- 1 large egg
First bring 2 cups of milk to a boil. While the milk is heating, whisk together the sugar, corn starch and salt. If you’re using a vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste you can add that here, if you’re using extract, wait until the end.
I do not advise whisking furiously while taking pictures… Ok, now move this mixture back into the pot and turn it on medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heat proof spatula until it has thickened and starts to simmer.