Valentine's Day on a Shoestring Budget

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my budget for this year's Valentine's Day will be very small. I will not be able to afford expensive food or a lavish dessert, but that does not mean that I want to skimp on the celebrations.

I decided to make a dessert with butterscotch instant pudding, but to add a touch to make it more special. Obviously I wanted to practice first, not leaving it for Valentine's Day, to see if it would look good enough to do the trick.

I used six small heart-shaped silicone molds, which I first sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I added a crust (made from crushed vanilla wafers and a little bit of melted butter) to the bottom of each mold. Then I filled each mold to the brim with instant pudding and dusted the top with grated chocolate. Into the freezer so that the molds would set.

To serve, I dusted the plate with cocoa powder and icing sugar, turned the heart out on the plate and added a cherry on top. Serve immediately and voila!

Perfect! I think this should do the trick, don't you think?

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January 26, 20171 found this helpful
Top Comment

Great idea. Any holiday is not a success because of the amount of money spent. The effort and love that went into the celebration is what will be remembered. Many couples' fondest memories are from times when they had little money

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January 29, 20170 found this helpful

So true Judy Pariser S.! I really appreciate your comment!

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January 27, 20170 found this helpful

Instead of expensive instant pudding you can use Birds Custard, just like your Great Gramma used. It is still available, though you might have to look on high shelves in the baking supplies isles.


In addition to lower cost and better taste, you don't need to spray the molds with WD40 or PAM, just wet them with cold water.
Birds Custard is neutral with a very slight Vanilla flavor. You can flavor it any way you want, chocolate, fruit, mint, malt, whatever turns your crank that day.

From living in the bush I got used to using cans of condensed milk. One can of milk, one can of melted snow or water, 1 TBSP of honey, bring to just about boiling. In the meantime mix 1 heaping TBSP Bird Custard powder with just enough water to make a smooth paste. Wash and wet a bunch of small bowls and set them out for easy filling.
Hammer or cut a square of Baker's Semi-Sweet chocolate to small bits and have it ready.
When the milk is just about boiling, stir in the paste and keep stirring. It will thicken fast. When it makes blb-blb-blb sounds, swirl in the chocolate bits for a nice marble and pour the custard into the wet bowls.


Let them cool and enjoy.

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January 29, 20170 found this helpful

Hi Helmut,

Unfortunately we don't have Birds Custard in South Africa... :-)

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February 6, 20170 found this helpful

My goodness. The things you can learn when you follow up on a ThriftyFun article. Here's a few.

Amazon sells Bird's Custard.

Amazon no longer ships to South Africa (as of 2008).

Walmart sells Bird's Custard.

Walmart has stores in South Africa. Whether there is a Walmart near you and whether that store sells Bird's Custard, I don't know.

Bird's Custard is very popular in the UK.

The main ingredient in Bird's Custard is corn flour. Doesn't sound very appetizing to me.

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February 6, 20170 found this helpful

Nope... no Bird's Custard at our version of Walmart (the stores are called Game here).


Hehe... I agree, cornflour does not sound very appetizing...

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February 7, 20171 found this helpful

Cornflour (or cornstarch) is the main ingredient in packaged pudding mix. Birds custard is delicious - I should know - it was a popular dessert in England (during WW2) and I grew up on it. I am now 88 years old and still going strong! Enjoy whatever you have for Valentine's Day!

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February 8, 20170 found this helpful

Thanks Joan! I guess that it what it is all about. It is not what is on the plate that matters, but rather the memories that are created that are important.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! :-)

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February 8, 20170 found this helpful


I got my information from Wikipedia. I thought it strange when they listed corn flour as the main ingredient. I don't know how it is in England, but here in the States, corn flour and corn starch are two very different things. Corn flour is used to make tortillas and other things, while cornstarch is used mainly as a thickening agent.


I know corn starch is the main ingredient in packaged puddings and I am sure it (and not corn flour), is the main ingredient in Birds Custard.

It appears that Wikipedia is wrong. Thanks for setting us straight'

And if you say it's delicious, I believe you.

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August 21, 20170 found this helpful

Good Idea. Budget don't matters. What matters is the "feelings".


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