Silky smooth and subtly flavored, this custard comes together surprisingly fast and easily. The recipe can be doubled.
Make Ahead: The custard is best made 1 day in advance so it can be thoroughly chilled.
Yield: Makes 2 cups
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 cup regular or low-fat sour cream
Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl, making sure there are no clumps. Whisk in half of the heavy cream to form a smooth slurry. Use your fingertips to check for/eliminate any clumps.
Use a small whisk to beat the cream cheese in a separate medium bowl until it is slightly whipped. Gradually whisk in the remaining cream, then pour in the cornstarch slurry and egg yolk, whisking until well incorporated.
Stir together the milk, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan, then place over medium heat. Once bubbles begin to form at the edges, stir slowly with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom to make sure a skin doesn't form there. Once the surface of the milk mixture begins to quiver a bit on its own, turn off the heat.
Pour 1/2 cup of the heated milk mixture into the slurry mixture, whisking to incorporate, then slowly pour that tempered mixture back into the saucepan while whisking; this should take a deliberate and measured 10 seconds to complete.
Return the heat to medium and cook for 2 to 5 minutes. The thickened mixture will bubble and burp. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low and whisk until the mixture reaches a puddinglike consistency. Remove from the heat.
There will most likely be some small lumps. Use a flexible spatula to press the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer into a shallow container (at least 2-cup capacity). Gently and thoroughly fold in the sour cream. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then stir in the lemon juice. Cover again and refrigerate overnight before serving.
Adapted from "Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake & More No-Bake Desserts," by Faith Durand (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.