Last updated 8/3/13:
Pudding is one of those childhood guilty pleasures that makes everyone in our house smile. My mother always used JELL-O pudding when I was a kid so that was what I always knew at home (Grandma, however, made cornstarch pudding… way different stuff.)
Well, when my husband was diagnosed with celiac disease I wondered if he could still eat pudding. We used to say on this website that JELL-O pudding is safe because that is what Kraft told us back in 2011, but apparently they have changed their tune since then and some folks are getting sick from it. My hubby does not, or has not yet, but that doesn’t mean he won’t at some point. Better to not take the chance and make this pudding instead.
The recipe below is derived from a 1973 ad for Hershey’s cocoa. It was for the “Snow Ghost Chocolate Pie.” I just avoided the crust and made it into a pudding instead. I did not use Hershey’s cocoa since I find it to be bitter so I substituted the Weis store brand cocoa instead. It turned out fantastic and fudgey – and I can pronounce all the ingredients in it just fine. Plus this recipe makes 3 cups instead of 2 like JELLO. More pudding is always better.
1970’s Gluten Free Chocolate Pudding
- 1/2 Cup cocoa
- 1 1/4 Cup sugar
- 1/3 Cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 Cups milk (1% or higher is better, but skim works)
- 3 Tbl butter
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
In a saucepan stir cocoa, sugar, salt and cornstarch together. Add milk slowly and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. It might be frothy on top which is OK. When mixture comes to a boil, boil one minute. Take off heat and add butter and vanilla. Once butter is melted and mixed in put in bowl or individual dishes to cool. Immediately press plastic wrap on top of pudding to keep skin from forming. Chill 3-4 hours.
Cornstarch pudding can be a little tricky so here are some tips:
- If your cornstarch and/or cocoa are lumpy, sift them before using. (Make sure the sifter has not been used for wheat flour, it is impossible to fully clean a sifter – buy a new one.)
- A larger pan will allow the milk to heat quicker, but it will also burn faster so you need to keep watching it closely.
- A candy thermometer can help you see when you are getting close to the boiling point.
- The mixture will not begin to thicken until about 180 degrees.
- Soft butter will mix in quicker than cold, so get it out early if you can.
- Constant stirring is a must to prevent lumps.
- A film may form on the bottom of your pan while cooking – this is OK. Don’t mix it in though.
- If you do get lumps, a strainer can be used to remove them but only while the pudding is very hot.
If you’ve only had JELLO pudding before, you will notice cornstarch pudding is a little different, more firm and less, um, plastic-y.
Incidentally, there are many kinds of premade puddings that are safe for folks with celiac. Check your labels and you might be surprised.