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This pudding is much more economical than that made from a mix, although it takes a little longer to make.  It's richer in flavor, too, lower in fat and has a whole lot more calcium.  

Double Rich Vanilla Pudding

2/3 cup sugar  (Note #1)
4 tablespoons corn starch
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups low-fat or skim milk, divided
3 egg yolks (optional, Note #2)
1/2 cup lite cream cheese (fat-free works, too) or Neufchatel
1 cup fat free sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Add between 1/2 to 1 cup of the milk, stirring to dissolve the corn starch.

Place the remaining milk in a non-stick saucepan over medium fire.  Heat just to the boiling point, stirring frequently (Note #3).

Stir the sugar/corn starch mixture again to re-mix.  Pour into the hot milk and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and boil for about 1 minute.  

(Note #2) Remove from heat for a moment.  Beat the egg yolks with a fork in the same small container in which the sugar and starch were mixed.   Pour a tablespoon of hot pudding into the yolks, beating with a fork or whisk.   Continue to add and beat until you have added about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture.   Return pudding to the fire and add the egg yolk mixture, stirring vigorously.    Continue to stir until mixture boils for another minute. 

Remove from heat.  Place the cream cheese in the small bowl.  Add a little hot pudding and mix well.  Continue to add hot pudding, stirring until the cream cheese is liquefied.  Add the cheese mixture to the pudding.  Add the fat-free sour cream and vanilla, and mix well.   (Note #4)

Chill well and enjoy! 

Note #1:  If you are following a sugar-free diet, I would recommend that you add the equivalent amount of sweetener along with the vanilla extract after the pudding is cooked.

Note #2:  Egg yolks are high fat and high cholesterol, although they are very nutritious.  Eliminate them if you wish; just skip that paragraph.  If you do, you may wish to increase the corn starch by 1 teaspoon.

Note #3:  Use a flat pancake turner or spatula to scrape the bottom.  If you can keep it from ever starting to stick, you've won the battle.

Note #4:  After you have added the cream cheese and sour cream, DO NOT reheat, nor beat with a mixer nor blender.  If you do, it will lose its texture and may not solidify into pudding.

The Sneaky Kitchen
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