Pudding is a soothing thing. It doesn’t require you to be adventurous or worldly or chic. It isn’t intellectually taxing. Usually one doesn’t need to acquire a taste for pudding, as its soft, enveloping sweetness has a cozy charm to please every palate.
Every culture has a least a few lush, gooey, spoonable sweets—flan, coeur à la crème, rice and bread puddings—all turning everyday staples into something special. The British hold pudding in such high esteem that they call all desserts “pudding,” as if to say, “Here is our standard by which all sweets are judged.” Pudding is the ultimate comfort food. When presented with one of the puddings in this chapter, watch your friends and family sigh and smile, nodding their head, shoulders relaxing as they remember the first time they tasted rice pudding, or chocolate custard, or a thick wedge of warm bread pudding drizzled with real caramel. There won’t be any tentative looks or nervous comments like, “My, that looks so interesting.” Simply the satisfied murmurings of happy taste buds and tummies well filled.