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The Surprising History Of Vanilla Custard Plus 4 Easy Recipes

Pudding fans, prepare yourselves: It's National Vanilla Custard Day!

You might be surprised that, like many other food staples, custard actually has a very complicated and sometimes murky history that dates back millennia.

As far as we know, the Ancient Romans were the first to realize that eggs thicken and bind when cooked and frequently made either savory or sweet omelet-type foods, often sweetening their desserts with honey, nuts, cinnamon and the like, according to The Food Timeline. Those smart Romans.

But it wasn't until around Medieval times when we started seeing sweet custards and flans pop up in desserts and pastries or eaten on their own on the regular in both Europe and Asia. During colonial times, the European version of custard and savory puddings made their way over to America along with European immigrants, but it was the sweet desserts that really became popular in the states, especially around the 1840s with the invention of custard powder. We Americans have always had a mean sweet tooth.

You might be jealous to learn that some custards like chocolate pudding, tapioca pudding and rice pudding used to be considered health foods back in the day. It was a simpler time.

Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries used to believe that custards/puddings were particularly nourishing for the young and the sickly -- lucky them. Unfortunately, nowadays we aren't so forgiving of foods laden with sugar and fat, so pudding is pretty much relegated to a dessert. But if you want to go ahead and start calling pudding a superfood, we'll totally go along with you on this one.

Looking to celebrate the long history of custard? Here are a few recipes you can indulge with today:

1. Classic Vanilla Custard

Classic Vanilla Custard

We love instant pudding, but did you know that it's not actually that much harder to make from scratch? Feel free to mix in your favorite flavor, if you are so inclined.

2. Easy Banana Cream Pie

As far as easy goes, this is a favorite of ours. Your loved ones will never know that this only took a few minutes and hardly any ingredients -- IF you decide to share, that is.

2. Banana Pudding No-Churn Ice Cream

Banana Pudding No-Churn Ice Cream

This is not a drill. YOU CAN MAKE ICE CREAM OUT OF PUDDING MIX. Go do it immediately.

3. Funfetti Pudding Mix Cookies

Funfetti Pudding Mix Cookies

Yep, that's right. You can use pudding mix to make extra creamy, rich and decadent cookies. Do it!

4. Aunt Ruth's Famous Butterscotch Cheesecake

Aunt Ruth's Famous Butterscotch Cheesecake

Everything you love about cheesecake, with an easy butterscotch flair. Top with crushed butterscotch candies or toffee bits for a delicious crunch and make Aunt Ruth proud.