Often when making recipes that include pudding, you end up with quite a bit of extra. There’s only so much pudding that can go between the layers of a cake, or in a pie crust! The good news is, that delicious creamy pudding doesn’t have to go to waste – you can always freeze it for later use, with surprisingly good results.
Pudding actually freezes pretty well, in fact, a good way to use up milk that’s on its way out is making and freezing pudding! Pudding’s versatility is convenient if you want to make pudding pies, or other pudding-filled desserts, in advance of an event. Additionally, having a frozen dessert ready in the freezer could be handy in case of an unexpected invite. Just be aware of the other ingredients in your frozen dessert. While the pudding component will freeze well, any cookies might become soggy, and fruit has a tendency to seep moisture when frozen. Consider adding toppings after the dessert is removed from the freezer. When freezing a pudding or custard pie, it’s also best to use a pie crust recipe that is high in fat, and low in liquids, like a crushed cookie crust, or a shortbread. This will help the pie crust retain its texture while thawing.
Image used under Creative Commons from Yoshihide Nomura
How to freeze pudding
Pudding can be frozen in a few different ways. In addition to making and freezing a dessert with a pudding layer or filling, you could also just freeze containers of plain pudding on their own for later use. When pudding freezes, the consistency becomes like that of a rich and creamy ice cream. This holds true for store bought mixes, homemade puddings, rice pudding and even tapioca pudding. Because of this, frozen pudding can make a delicious frozen treat on its own – just freeze for a few hours in a storage container, and grab a spoon! Unlike storing pudding in the refrigerator, a skin will not form on the top of frozen pudding, and so you do not need to worry about covering the pudding with plastic wrap before placing it in the freezer.
Another great way to freeze pudding, is by making popsicles. Simply distribute pudding in popsicle molds or even little plastic cups, insert sticks, and freeze. These are great to have as a quick snack for kids or an easy way to cool down in warmer months, as they are so easy to make!
Frozen pudding may be stored for 4-6 weeks, though frozen desserts made with pudding should be frozen for no more than a month. Be sure to tightly seal any containers, and with desserts, be sure to cover them completely, leaving no parts exposed to the air.
How freezing affects pudding
It’s important to note that the texture of the pudding could change a bit in the freezer, depending on the brand, moisture content and whether or not the custard was overheated before it was frozen. If you are worried about how the pudding texture will hold up, you could test freeze a small amount and let that thaw in the fridge before freezing. Each batch of pudding will be different, based on the factors previously mentioned, so it’s recommended that a test batch be frozen each time. While one batch of pudding might not thaw well, it could still be used as a frozen dessert!
Thawing frozen pudding is actually quite simple. If you just want to eat the thawed pudding as a snack, or use the thawed pudding in a recipe, you can put the container in the fridge overnight, and the pudding will thaw nicely. You could also thaw the pudding at room temperature for a few hours, though this is not recommended for a pre-made dessert.
When thawing a pre-made pudding dessert, like a pie, it’s best to let it thaw in the refrigerator. Thawing a dessert at room temperature will expose the dessert to too much moisture that can be absorbed by the pie crust. With a pudding-filled cake, this is of less concern, if you’re really pressed for time.