By Jude Teal

Spumoni Moussette

Servings: 4

1 (4-ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix

1 cup 2 percent low-fat milk

1/4 teaspoon rum extract or 1 tablespoon rum

1 cup light whipped topping, thawed (plus extra for topping)

1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

In a small mixing bowl, combine the pudding mix with the milk and rum (or rum extract) using a wire whisk, beat until mixture begins to thicken. Fold in whipped topping and chocolate chips until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Can be made a day or two ahead of time. Serve in small fancy bowls (or old fashioned saucer champagne glasses) Garnish with whipped topping and a sprinkling of grated chocolate, if desired.

Additional add ins: 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts, diced maraschino cherries

Variation: Substitute Instant chocolate pudding mix, sugar free, fat free for pistachio. Substitute Kahlua for rum and add 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee crystals. Instead of miniature chocolate chips, use crushed white chocolate chips. Proceed as above.

One of my favorite flavors even since I was a kid was rum. No, it wasn’t part of my baby formula. I first tasted in the form of non-alcoholic extract in a cake.

Rum, the liquor, is made from sugar cane by-products like molasses. It goes back thousands of years and was even praised by Marco Polo as “a very good wine of sugar.” It was also a big favorite of pirates (I guess they were very rummy).

Regardless of its history, rum is a delicious flavoring in food prep. Whether straight from the bottle or in the form of extract, it is a tasty ingredient that lasts for ages in the pantry. I always have a supply of extract, at least, so I can make a quick dessert in case a pirate comes by.