I had never tried pistachio pudding until I was an adult. My family was certainly no stranger to boxed pudding mixes when I was growing up, but my parents preferred the cooked variety over instant, and we almost always had the chocolate flavor. It wasn’t until I moved in with my husband that I actually tried the bright green pistachio flavor, since it’s a favorite of his. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it, but I didn’t see a whole lot of resemblance to actual pistachios. So whenever my husband professed his love for his favorite boxed pudding variety, it was always in the back of my mind that I could make a pudding with real, actual pistachios and no food coloring. So I did — I bring you Homemade Pistachio Pudding.
I will say that aside from the name, homemade pistachio pudding has very little in common with the boxed version. The texture is different — since this one is made with real ground nuts, it contains bits of them in the pudding, even after straining. The color is also different — less of a pastel green and more of a beige/khaki color. However, this might depend on the pistachios you use. It did cross my mind when I was measuring out my pistachios that the ones I was using were less green and more brownish than other pistachios I’ve eaten in the past.
The flavor of this homemade pudding is also different — it actually tastes like pistachios. Imagine that. Because of these differences, I was afraid that my husband wasn’t going to like it. But he definitely did, and so did I — I believe I will be making this on a regular basis.
Homemade Pistachio Pudding
- 1⁄2 cup lightly salted shelled pistachios (see note)
- 1⁄2 cup sugar, divided
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 cups whole milk (see note)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- chopped pistachios, to garnish (optional)
- whipped cream, to top (optional)
- Add pistachios to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the pistachios are finely ground. Add sugar and water and continue to process to form a paste.
- Add pistachio paste and milk to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until steaming, stirring often to prevent scorching.
- Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl or 2 cup measuring cup (it will be thick).
- Stir 1⁄2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Add another 1⁄2 cup of the milk mixture and stir until smooth.
- Transfer the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture, and continue to heat over medium until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to simmer until thickened, about 2-3 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Transfer pudding to 6 individual dessert dishes, or one larger serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, so that the plastic is actually touching the pudding. Chill completely, at least 2 hours.
I used pistachios that were labeled “lightly salted,” and they tasted just as described. You can also use unsalted pistachios if you can find them. If you can only find salted pistachios, omit any added salt in the pudding.
You can use 1% or 2% milk or soy milk instead of whole, but the pudding won’t be as creamy.