Pudding pops were always one of my favorite frozen treats when I was a kid. It wasn’t just the Bill Cosby commercials that made me like them, however. Pudding gave the pops a dense, creamy texture that was very different than regular ice cream, and was very delicious. I ate my way through many boxes of pudding pops as a kid, and eventually switched to homemade pudding pops as an adult. Pudding pops are made simply by freezing your favorite pudding recipe in a popsicle mold. You can make any flavor you can think of – but for summer, I am loving these Red White and Blue Berry Pudding Pops.
The pops start out with plain vanilla pudding. I used a very simple recipe that is thickened with cornstarch, rather than whole eggs, which is very quick and easy to make. Once the pudding is cooked and cooled, I folded in sliced strawberries and fresh blueberries, the spooned the mixture into popicle molds. The resulting pops have a red, white and blue look that is perfect for 4th of July parties, as well as just about any other hot weather occasion. You can really taste the vanilla of the pudding, and pops of fresh fruit really stand out as you eat.
You’re going to want to use fresh fruit in this recipe, not frozen. Fresh berries will have a much better look in the finished pops, and they’ll retain their texture better in the pudding. The exact amount of fruit you use may vary slightly from the amount I indicated below, as strawberries that are larger or smaller will fit into the pop molds in different ways, as will blueberries. Keep some extra on hand in case you find room to tuck a few extra berries in. You can use any kind of popsicle mold for these, including homemade popsicle molds, but I recommend choosing one with relatively flat sides so you get the best view of the red and blue berries peeking out from the white pudding pop!
Red, White and Blue Berry Pudding Pops
3 cups milk, divided (whole or reduced fat)
1/2 cup sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2/3 cup sliced, fresh strawberries
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 1/2 cups milk and sugar over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Bring just to a simmer. You will see steam coming from the milk, but no bubbles.
Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1/2 cup milk, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. When the milk/sugar mixture comes to a simmer, whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
Whisking constantly, continue to cook for several minutes, until pudding comes to a simmer and begins to thicken. Cook for one additional minuate, until the pudding thickly coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract or vanilla bean, then transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cold
When pudding is cold, fold in sliced strawberries and blueberries.
Spoon pudding/berry mixture into clean popsicle molds. Tap the molds on the countertop to release any large air bubbles. Fill molds almost completely, then place popsicle sticks in the molds.
Freeze until solid, or overnight.
To release pops, dip the molds in hot water for a few seconds.
Makes about 12, depending on the size of your popsicle molds.