I'm not sure that this simple, traditional Sicilian milk pudding is really a Christmas dessert. But in our family it has always been known as one, and it never fails to appear on the Holiday Menu.
For 4-6 people
1 qt whole milk
1 cup sugar
5 Tbs cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon
chocolate shards or chips
raw pistachio nuts, unsalted, chopped
Cut long strips of lemon zest, avoiding the bitter white pith.
In a cup, dissolve the cornstarch into 1/2 cup of the cold milk.
Pour the rest of the milk into a pot.
Add the milk and cornstarch mixture to the milk in the pot.
Mix in the sugar and add the lemon zest strips.
Heat the milk on very low heat, stirring constantly. The milk will soon start to thicken.
After it comes to a boil, let simmer a couple of minutes, always stirring, as the pudding tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.
Remove the lemon zest.
Pour into one large or 4-6 small dessert bowls and cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap. This will prevent a skin from forming while the pudding is cooling.
When the pudding is lukewarm, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the chocolate and pistachios over it. The chocolate should sink lightly but shouldn't melt.
Let cool completely in the refrigerator before serving.