Orange zest, warm spices, vanilla bean, and brandy flavor this silky vanilla pudding for an easy and elegant winter dessert.
spiced vanilla pudding celebrates the flavors and aromas of winter
The other day I was making a simple orange and clove simple syrup for cocktails and was so intoxicated by the aroma that I knew I had to find a way to incorporate those flavors into some kind of dessert. Infusing spices and citrus peel in cream is a great way to build flavor, and so I considered a creme brûlée, an ice cream, or a panna cotta, but settled on pudding because it’s just so easy to make but doesn’t sacrifice on that luxurious mouthfeel.
what you’ll need
- egg yolks
- orange peel
- whole spices: clove, cinnamon, anise, allspice, vanilla bean
how to infuse flavors into cream
The flavor in this pudding is built by infusing whole spices and orange peel into heavy cream. It’s super simple to do, and works well for lots of different flavors, from the delicate florals in my grapefruit blossom pot de creme to dried mushrooms that make my favorite homemade cream of mushroom soup for a classic green bean casserole.
- heat the cream in a small saucepan until just starting to simmer.
- remove from the heat and add your spices and citrus peel, cover the saucepan
- allow to sit at room temperature until fully cooled, or about 20 or 30 minutes (you can taste the cream to see if the flavor is strong enough for you, and leave it longer to infuse more if you’d like)
- strain the spices out of the cream and use it in your recipe
how to serve winter spice pudding
- You can serve this pudding either warm or chilled. I happen to like it warm, but it works equally well cold from the fridge, and is much easier to prep ahead that way.
- Pour the warm pudding into your serving containers and let them cool in the fridge until ready to serve. Top with the brandied whipped cream and orange zest garnish just before serving. Small mason jars, cocktail glasses, or teacups all work great for serving individual portions of pudding.
- You can also chill the pudding in a larger container and spoon it into your serving containers when you are ready to eat.
pudding might just be the perfect dessert
- Old Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding
- Perfect Chocolate Pudding
- Kentucky Bourbon Vanilla Bean Pudding
- Coffee Pudding
- Peanut Butter Pudding
- Meyer Lemon Pudding
Winter Spice Vanilla Pudding
for the pudding
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- peel of 1 orange
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 2 anise pods
- 4 allspice berries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- 2 tsp brandy, or bourbon
for the brandied whipped cream (optional)
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp brandy
for the pudding
- Start by infusing the cream with the spices. In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, orange peel, cloves, cinnamon stick, anise pods, and allspice berries. Bring to a simmer, and then immediately remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes).
- Meanwhile, in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Then add the milk, a little at a time, whisking until everything is smooth.
- When the infused cream has cooled, strain it directly into the saucepan with the milk mixture, whisking everything together.
- Set the mixture over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the pudding just begins to come to a boil. I like to switch between a whisk and a silicone spatula while I'm cooking pudding to make sure I'm scraping everything off the bottom of the pan so it cooks evenly.
- Once you see that first bubble, remove from the heat and strain the pudding into a bowl to catch any lumps. Whisk in the butter, vanilla paste, and brandy. Pour into your serving containers. Serve it warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
for the brandied whipped cream
- With electric beaters, or a whisk, whip the cream, salt, and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Whisk in the brandy, to taste. Serve a dollop on top of the cooled pudding.
- Lower the fat content by using all whole milk.