In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you cook instant pudding” with an in-depth analysis of the product, its properties, and cooking method. Moreover, we are going to highlight why we can not cook instant pudding by examining the recommendations one needs to follow during preparation.
Can you cook instant pudding?
No, generally you do not require any heating step while preparing instant pudding, that only needs to mix cold milk and pudding mix, and then stirring for the activation of thickening agents at just room temperature.
The heating is only required if your pudding is thin and you want to add some extra thickening agents, such as cornstarch, that need heat for their gelatinization.
Pudding is a dish that is liked and consumed by people all over the world. It is well known for its light texture and delicate flavors.
Pudding is not a simple dish. It involves a lot of steps during its preparation that is needed to be followed carefully as a slight disturbance in any of the parameters during cooking may alter the texture and spoil the appealing properties of the product.
Due to the hard cooking steps that need to be carried out while making pudding at home, industries come up with a new product as a solution, that is instant pudding. As the name indicates, this product can be prepared instantly within no time and effort.
Instant pudding is a food product that is created in powder form and is used to create puddings and pie filling. It is prepared with the use of sugar, flavoring agents, and different thickening agents as main ingredients that are present in the form of the powder mixture and you need to just mix this powder in milk.
Instant puddings come in markets in different flavors, that can be determined based on the flavorings agents added, such as vanilla instant pudding that contains vanilla as a flavoring agent and chocolate instant pudding that contains cocoa as a flavoring agent.
Another key ingredient present in the instant pudding is gelatinized starch, the presence of which imparts this product instant properties, as gelatinized starch is a dried powder starch that can readily absorb liquids and form a gel when mixed with milk.
Some other ingredients may also be added to maintain the texture and thickness of the product. These may include gums that are water-soluble, such as carrageenans and alginates.
Methods of preparation:
Instant pudding can be made using the method given below:
- Take 2-3 cups of cold milk and an instant pudding packet.
- Take cold milk in a bowl. 2 cups for 3.4 ounces pudding packet and 3 cups for 5.1 ounces pudding packet.
- Open the instant pudding mix and add it to the bowl. Most of the pudding floats on the surface and you will observe a change in the milk color slightly on dissolving of the powder.
- Stir the mixture with a whisk until the pudding thickens. Generally, 2 minutes is fine for dissolving the mix completely into the milk. Make sure that no lumps are present at the end of the stirring.
- Now pour the mixture into a serving bowl and chill the pudding in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.
- Garnish the pudding at the end, with some strawberries, and top it with whipped cream or yogurt.
Instant vs cooked puddings:
- Thickening agents:
Cooked puddings involve the heating of the mixture till the desired consistency is achieved. It is due to the reason that thickening agents present in it need heat for their activation, for example, cornstarch or dehydrated eggs that are usually thickeners in cook and serve pudding need to be heated to thicken the texture of the product by dissolving in milk.
Instant pudding, on the other hand, just needed to be mixed or stirred for a few minutes as agitation activates the thickening of the thickeners, gelatin, present in instant puddings.
- Time for preparation:
The two products also differ in the time required for their preparation. Instant pudding as the name indicates that this product can be prepared instantly within 10 minutes. 2-3 minutes are required for agitation and 5 minutes for chilling, and your product is ready to eat.
Cook and serve pudding is also prepared within a few minutes, that is 15-20 minutes as it involves an additional step of heating during preparation, unlike instant pudding. The heating is required to activate the thickening agents present in the mix and then a few minutes are required for chilling.
- Temperature requirements:
The two products may vary in temperature requirements during preparation as instant pudding can be prepared by just stirring at room temperature. Whereas, cooking and serving pudding needs to be heated at a simmering state for thickening.
You can read how to make chocolate pudding here.
Thicken your instant pudding:
The main problem faced sometimes is the thin texture of the pudding that can be due to the addition of excessive liquid, milk, or the use of too thin milk, that is skim milk or partially skimmed milk. Therefore, make sure that you are using whole milk and the amount of milk is appropriate as mentioned on the box.
If the texture is too thin and you have more pudding mix, then you can simply add more pudding mix and stir it to obtain the desired thick consistency.
But if you do not have extra pudding mix, then you can simply use any other starch, such as corn starch, and heat the pudding to the level until all the starch is dissolved. But one thing while doing this is to prepare cornstarch slurry before adding it into the pudding by just mixing cornstarch and water in equal ratios as this may prevent clump formation and prevent the spoilage of the overall product.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you cook instant pudding” with an in-depth analysis of the preparatory method that indicates that no heating or cooking step is required during its preparation because of the ingredients added in it.
Moreover, we have discussed the differences between instant and cook and serve pudding to highlight that this product is more effective and convenient as it requires less time and effort to prepare.