Place a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside.
First, whisk together sugar, corn starch, and salt in a saucepan.
Add milk gradually making sure to dissolve cornstarch. Add egg yolks and mix to combine.
Turn on the element to medium heat and place saucepan on the element. Stirring constantly until the first large bubble forms and sputters, and then reduce heat to low. Continue to stir constantly for one minute and then remove from heat.
Immediately pour the mixture through the sieve in the bowl to remove any lumps.
Stir in butter and vanilla into the hot pudding.
Place a layer of saran wrap over the surface of the pudding-this will prevent a skin from forming.
Chill for 3 hours or for 3 days. Before serving whisk until smooth.
For chocolate pudding: add cocoa powder with the sugar, corn starch, and salt and then proceed as directed.
For Chai Cinnamon Pudding: brew the two tea bags in 3 tbsp boiling water, set aside until cool. Squeeze out the teabags and reserve liquid. Mix the tea into the pudding after step 8 and sprinkle cinnamon on top before serving.
For Mocha Chip Pudding: Prepare pudding with chocolate variation. Then dissolve the espresso powder into 2 TBSP boiling water and cool. Mix the cooled espresso into the pudding after step 8 and sprinkle chocolate chips on top before serving.
For Rum Raisin Pudding: Combine 1/4 cup raisins and 1/3 cup rum in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from element and let cool completely. Remove raisins from rum and set aside. Mix the rum into the pudding after step 8 and sprinkle the raisins on top before serving.