Some people are allergic to dairy products and must live a lactose-free lifestyle. While a lactose-free diet does restrict your dessert options, you can still enjoy a thick and delicious pudding by substituting regular cream or milk with a lactose-free milk, such as almond milk. Almond milk is completely lactose- free and has a natural sweet flavor that makes it ideal for adding to desserts. However, it cannot be used to thicken pudding all on its own because it does not contain saturated fats, which makes the liquid thin in comparison to milks and creams. Therefore, you will need to find a thickening agent to use in conjunction with the almond milk.
Set your stove-top burner to medium heat. Place the medium saucepan on top of the burner. The reason you need to make your lactose-free pudding on the stove is because almond milk does not work with instant pudding mixes.
Select cornstarch as your thickening agent, which works effectively for thickening pudding with lactose-free milk. If you are making approximately eight servings of pudding, start with one-eighth cup of cornstarch and 3 cups of almond milk. As your pudding boils, you can determine whether to add more cornstarch to make the consistency thicker. Additionally, almond milk is available in plain, vanilla and chocolate flavors, so select a flavor based on how sweet you want your pudding.
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt and spices in the saucepan and whisk together. Adding chili powder and cinnamon to your pudding will give it a flavorful kick, perfect for warming the palate and giving your pudding a distinct twist.
Slowly whisk in the almond milk. Allow it to boil and then reduce the heat to simmer while you continue whisking constantly. The whisking motion will help bind the ingredients together and thicken them up. Keep whisking for around four or five minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add your extracts and butter.
Pour the hot pudding into eight serving bowls and chill the pudding in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. The pudding should be cold and thick when served.
Finish by garnishing the top of your pudding bowls with a curled orange peel, which pairs famously with chocolate, chili and cinnamon, or with a couple of raspberries, which also works well with chocolate.