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Vanilla Pudding With Baked Rhubarb

Martha Stewart Living, June Summer 2005

Likable. Unpretentious. Able to work with others. Vanilla Pudding can be described in all of these ways, but please don't call it boring. Infused with seeds scraped from the pod, this version has a rich, tempting flavor. A luscious match for tangy Baked Rhubarb -- baked with more vanilla -- or any number of other toppings, it's anything but plain vanilla.

More Pudding Toppings
Rum-Soaked Raisins
Soak 1 cup raisins in 3 tablespoons light rum for 1 hour (or overnight) at room temperature.

Lemony Strawberries
Toss together 2 pints hulled, quartered strawberries, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Let stand at room temperature until berries are very juicy, about 1 hour.

Granola
Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons granola over each serving.

Chocolate
Grate 1 ounce white or dark chocolate on the large holes of a box grater. Sprinkle over each serving.

Caramelized Banana
Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons sugar. Add 1/2-inch-thick slices of banana (from about 1 1/2 bananas). Raise heat to high; cook, without stirring, 3 minutes. Flip slices gently. Reduce heat to medium; cook 3 minutes more.