For this week’s theme of Halloween-inspired recipes, I wanted something that was easy, an uncharacteristic quality to most Halloween project-style recipes.
First, I had to pick what I wanted my dish to look like. After thinking about dismembered appendages, demon-shaped creations and cute ghost-resembling baked goods, I decided to pay homage to one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. Although it’s not a Halloween movie, there are plenty of scenes in it that still give me the creeps, and my favorite is where a member of the royal court eats monkey brains from a monkey’s head.
I decided a bowl of bloody brains was the perfect dish. To pull it off, I came up with a peanut butter pudding to resemble the taupe-colored brains (not going for realism here, folks) and a dollop or drizzle of dark-colored berry jam to resemble blood.
The pudding recipe is super-simple and you can buy jam if you don’t want to make some. The key to it looking like brains is all in the styling, which I admit I’m not the best at it when it comes to spooky special effects. But I bet if you serve this in a monkey’s-head-shaped bowl, everyone eating it would get the picture, and hopefully keep it down, despite their immediate reactions!
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(Peanut Butter Pudding with Jelly)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
2 cups milk
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strawberry or grape jam or jelly
- Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan, and whisk until evenly combined. Whisk in egg yolks until smooth. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until bubbling and thickened to the consistency of pudding, about 8 to10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Transfer pudding to a wide bowl and smooth the top. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove plastic wrap and whisk pudding until smooth. Divide among 8 small pudding cups or bowls and top each with 2 tablespoons jam, swirling it over the top to create a “bloody” effect. (Or heat the jam gently in a small pan over low heat until loosened and drizzle over chilled pudding as a sauce.)
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