Friday, June 22, 2012

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate pudding is most likely something you order off a retro menu or purchase in small cups at the market. It's usually an impulse buy that reminds us of a childhood memory when maybe it was produced from a box. But making chocolate pudding from scratch isn't difficult or overly time consuming, so you just might want to give it a try for the pleasure and satisfaction of a silky chocolate dessert produced in your own kitchen.

Pudding is the kind of dessert that seems like the answer to all our problems. It's definitely a comfort food to rescue you from the doldrums. This recipe isn't too heavy or too rich, just enough to provide a nice reminder of the gratifying luxury of good pudding to enjoy in the comfort of your own table.

Bench notes:
- Use your favorite, very delicious chocolate. I use only 2 oz of chocolate to avoid graininess but you can add more if you want more of a depth charge. It will have a slightly thicker texture.
- I used bittersweet (60-40) chocolate. For a sweeter taste, use semi-sweet.
- I like the way the caramel notes of brown sugar and a back note of coffee enhance chocolate. Use all granulated sugar and omit the coffee beans if you prefer.
- Keep the pudding on a low boil for about 4 - 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to be sure to cook out the flour and cornstarch.
- After chilling, give the pudding a quick whisk to loosen up and smooth out the texture.
- For the whipping cream garnish, use vanilla extract or flavor with a splash of your favorite rum, brandy, kirsch, amaretto or Kahlua. Or add a pinch of cinnamon.

Chocolate Pudding
Makes 4 - 6 servings

2 C milk
2 T coffee beans
1/4 C dark brown sugar, packed
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 oz (4 T) butter @ room temperature
4 egg yolks
3 T granulated sugar
1 T + 1 1/2 t flour
1 T + 1 1/2 t cornstarch
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/8 t salt, to taste

3/4 C heavy cream
1 T granulated sugar
1 t vanilla or rum, brandy or favorite liqueur

Place the milk, coffee beans and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved. Take off heat, cover and steep while you assemble and prepare the other ingredients.

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into very small pieces and add to the chopped chocolate. Set aside.

Whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until combined. Add the flour and cornstarch and whisk until thoroughly blended. The mixture will be thickened and lemon-colored.

Re-warm the milk and bring to a simmer. Strain half of it into the egg yolks, whisking quickly and thoroughly. Strain the remaining milk into the bowl and whisk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a slow boil and begins to thicken. This will take about 1 - 2 minutes. Continue stirring and cooking for another couple of minutes until smooth and thick. Pour into the bowl with chopped chocolate and butter and let it sit for a minute or two. Then slowly whisk to incorporate everything. Add the vanilla and blend. Add salt, to taste. Pour through a strainer into a clean container. Press a piece of plastic into the surface and refrigerate.

To serve, whip the heavy cream with sugar and flavoring of choice until it holds a medium soft peak. Whisk the pudding to loosen. Dish into bowls and dollop with whipped cream.


Cook with Claire said...

Oh! I can't wait to whip this up. Thank you!

Bryan said...

working in a restaurant has really made me love delicious puddings and pȏts.
also, making the real stuff always reminds me how much fun those gross dry jell-o packets were to make as a kid.

these pictures are really luxe!
chocolate and whipped cream rules.

Riley said...

I just adore chocolate pudding! This looks silky, smooth, and scrumptious!

Beth said...

I love making pudding. I'm adding this one to the taste test list. Thanks!

e / dig in hobart said...

OH MY. we don't have 'pudding' like this in australia - ours are more cake based; this looks like what we would call a mousse. but wow. i deifintely have to try this.

pastry studio said...

Yes, the language of pastry does have regional variation and significant differences. Puddings where you are are more like moist cakes. This pudding is more of a pastry cream. Where I live, "mousse" is a creme or puree lightened with whipped cream and/or egg whites. In any case, whatever the terminology, all these lovely things are delicious all the same!

myrtle said...

WoW! That was absolutely luscious.