Chocolate Pudding is one of those classic recipes that stick around forever. It’s one of those dishes that make you feel better, no matter what’s going on or how crappy your day may have been. If you hadn’t noticed, I’m big on comfort foods and memories. In my world, food can easily turn around a blue day. Things like chicken pot pies, squishy rolls and of course chocolate pudding, can turn the tide on an upside down day.
Growing up, Jell-O Pudding was a regular in my after school snack repertoire. Thinking back, it may have been one of the first things I’ve ever cooked unsupervised, on my own. When it came to the boxed pudding mix I came to the conclusion early in life that “instant” pudding, the kind you simply stirred, was not “real” pudding. Real pudding was cooked in a pot and formed a thick skin on top as it cooled that you peeled off in one piece and ate like a fruit roll up. That’s how you did it; that was real pudding. While I lean toward vanilla in general, nothing satisfied a pudding craving like chocolate. It had to be chocolate and it had to be made with whole milk and it had to be cooked on the stove. That was the deal.
As I’ve grown, I’ve moved beyond the boxed mixes. Homemade pudding isn’t that much more difficult and is made with ingredients I almost always have, except maybe the milk. I don’t drink much milk but when I have some leftover from a project, I’ll make pudding every time. Even as I progressed through pastry school and turned to a life of professional cooking with it’s French tinged lists of pastry creams, pot de crèmes and crème brûlées, it’s a simple stovetop pudding that satisfies like no other.
It’s no surprise that I’m also rather particular about how I develop that chocolate flavor too. I like a combination of both chopped chocolate and cocoa for a deep, full flavor. Use cocoa only and it’s a bit too light; use only chopped chocolate and it’s a bit one note. Use both and you’re hit the happy, just right, three little bears level of chocolate flavor. It’s on the dark side, not too sweet and rather adult in fact. Yes, it is a tad more involved than stirring up a box of pre-mixed stuff but not much and you can pronounce every ingredient. That stands for something right?
And stayed tuned … for the next post if I get my act together I’ll give you something great to do with this pudding besides eating it out of a bowl. If you have any left that is.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: REALLY? IS FURTHER EXPLANATION NEEDED? A bowl of creamy chocolate just about says it all. Sure you can gild the lily and add a spoonful of whipped cream or a raspberry or two, but I think it’s just delightful on its own. It really doesn’t need much else to make you happy. Now then, another source of debate is … warm or cold? Honestly, I do both. Warm, because I just simply cannot wait for it to cool so I have a bowl right away. Then, later, a good scoop once it’s chilled and set. Why not?
Other pudding recipes: Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding, Irish Oatmeal Pudding, Baked Rice Pudding
Eight years ago: Khachpuri (cheesy Georgian bread)
Seven years ago: Won Ton Soup
Six years ago: Chocolate Ganache Tart
Five years ago: St. John Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Four years ago: Chocolate Raspberry Tart
Three years ago: Chocolate Linzer Cookies
Two years ago: Flourless Chocolate Cookies
Last year: Mexican Chocolate Poundcake (omg, this is SO good)
DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING
Makes about 6 servings
After cooking, I do like to strain the pudding to remove any overcooked egg bits. No matter how careful you may be, it happens and the straining simply ensures a silky, smooth pudding.
2 ¼ cups whole milk, divided
½ cup sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg yolks
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (60% cacao is ideal)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk, ¼ cup of the sugar and the salt.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch, cocoa powder, egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup of sugar until blended then whisk in the remaining ¼ cup of milk until smooth.
- Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot milk into the eggs until thoroughly incorporated. (We are slowly heating the eggs, i.e. “tempering” the eggs, so they don’t overcook and scramble in the pudding).
- Pour this mixture back into the pot of the warm milk, whisking until smooth, then bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly.
- Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
- Strain the pudding into a medium heatproof bowl. Add the chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla and whisk until the chocolate and butter are melted and incorporated and the pudding is smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the pudding to a bowl or individual ramekins and refrigerate until chilled. (Though this doesn’t form a thick skin, one will form if you don’t cover while cooling. If you don’t care for the skin, press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent it from forming then refrigerate.) Serve with lightly whipped cream if you like.
- The pudding will keep, tightly wrapped and refrigerated, up to 4 days.