Friday, April 2, 2010

Sometimes, Those Jell-O Pudding Cups Just Don't Cut It

(above) Silky Chocolate Pudding
I saw The Wednesday Chef's post on this recipe and I knew I had to try it. I have made homemade pudding before, using a recipe from Martha Stewart as a way to use up fresh heavy cream left over from a ganache for devil's food cake (which I must make again soon!). While it was delicious, I was happy to find a recipe that called for milk, a more readily available and cost effective ingredient. Pudding is surprisingly easy to make and incredibly delicious. Rather than the chocolate flavored pudding you're most likely used to, its more of a chocolate in pudding form. The most "complicated" step would be setting up the double boiler. I actually don't have one, so I had to improvise.

(above) An improvised double boiler.
All you really need to do is to find a metal bowl that fits over a pot. Fill the put up a few inches of water (so that it's very close to the bottom of the bowl but not touching) and cover to bring to a simmer. Place the bowl on top of the pot and there you go, your very own double boiler.
(above) Covering the top with plastic wrap to prevent a pudding "skin" from forming.

Silky Chocolate Pudding
Serves 4 to 6
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.
  3. If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.

The recipe comes from John Scharffenberger's The Essence of Chocolate.

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