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FOOD 101: The Difference Between Custard & Pudding

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Chocolate baked custard. Photo courtesy
HealthyRecipesBlogs.com. Here’s the recipe.
 

Today is National Chocolate Custard Day, which got us to thinking: What’s the difference between custard and pudding?

American pudding is a sweetened milk mixture thickened with cornstarch, then cooked. It has no eggs in it. In the U.K. and Europe, it is also known as blancmange, and is thickened with starch.

But “pudding” means more than that.

  • In the U.K. the word refers to any dessert, but especially to sweet, cake-like baked, steamed and boiled puddings, usually made in a mold.
  • Then there’s the category of creamy puddings—what Americans typically think of as pudding, mostly enjoyed in the form of chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, butterscotch pudding and lemon pudding. They do double duty as pie filling.
  • When a recipe is exceptionally smooth and light, it is often called silk pudding for its silky texture.
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    There are also savory puddings and other foods that are called pudding: black pudding or blood pudding (sausage), Yorkshire pudding (baked batter, served as a side), bread pudding (stale bread baked in a custard sauce) and steamed pudding (cake).

    Custard, on the other hand, is an eggy delight that can be either baked or cooked on the stovetop. The egg protein is the thickener.

    There are custard-pudding hybrids, such as pastry cream (the filling of cream puffs and éclairs).

    Check out the different types of custard.

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    Chocolate pudding. Photo courtesy Bonchan.
     
      




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