Everybody Loves Chocolate Pudding –or- Family Dessert

My Girl’s pediatrician told me that you can count on homemade chocolate pudding as a good source of calcium, so what more excuse did I need to whip some up. I had seen some lovely looking puddings at the always cute Kitchenette restaurant. They serve them in canning jars, and that’s the kind of pudding I wanted to pull out of my fridge too.

I looked around for recipes and finally found one that didn’t rely on cornstarch and understood the benefits of good chocolate. Weeks went by. I tap tap tapped the ingredients into the little list app for my phone and carried it around with me for days. First I got the Valrhona chocolate chips at Fairway and stored them in my pantry for a couple of weeks. Then the day finally came (thank you, Spring Break!) when I had time to make the pudding. I purchased the remaining ingredients and some more canning jars and was ready to go.

Making the pudding itself was hardly any work. You could do it while talking on the phone and supervising children on a play date. I did! The bad news came when I realized that the pudding had to cook in the hot water bath for an hour, cool outside of the oven for an hour, and then chill in the fridge for another hour. I guess if you want instant you go the Bill Cosby route.

When the pudding was finally done we weren’t disappointed. It is rich and smooth. Thicker than a mousse, more complex and (dare I say?) more satisfying. In a few minutes all you could hear was the clink-clink-clink of our spoons trying to dig out the last bits of it from our jars.

The recipe made six - 1/2 jars, and we were generous enough to give two away. That meant we had some to spare, and it was even better on day 2, when it had set even more.

I was feeling guilty about the calories, but when I divided up the amounts of whole milk and heavy cream by six servings it really didn’t seem all that bad. Really. No really.

You don’t want to have the oven on for an hour in the summer, so you should really make this dessert soon, maybe tomorrow.

Valrhona Chocolate Pudding – adapted from Gourmet 9/04 and epicurious.com

yield: Makes 6 servings
active time: 30 min
total time: 3 1/2 hr

1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
4 1/2 oz Valrhona bittersweet chocolate (61%), finely chopped, or chocolate chips
5 large egg yolks

Special equipment: 6 (4-oz) ramekins or 1/2 pint canning jars, it helps to have a kitchen scale

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 275°F.
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan with tip of a paring knife, then add pod, milk, cream, and sugar and bring just to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add chocolate and cook over moderately high heat, stirring gently with a whisk, until chocolate is melted and mixture just boils. Remove from heat.
Pour mixture into a metal bowl. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Whisk in yolks, then pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart measure, discarding pod and any other solids.
Divide mixture among ramekins. Place pudding jars in a roasting pan and fill with water up to half of the jar. Bake until puddings are just set around edge but centers wobble when ramekins are gently shaken, about 1 hour.
Cool puddings in the water bath 1 hour, then remove from water and chill, uncovered, until cold, at least 1 hour.

If you’re using canning jars you can screw the caps on them to keep the pudding fresh or to transport to a really, really good friend.


SF Mom of One said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SF Mom of One said...

my comment did not "stick" so trying again:

Pudding sounds delicious (even the clanking of the spoons). So please do explain to your naive readers (like me), why did you look for a non-cornstarch pudding? I mean, I guess eggs are always better than starch, is it just that?

your fan,

Deb said...

Oh SF Mom, if only you were GTNY instead of GTT! I would have loved to shared this pudding with you, particularly over a few episodes of In Treatment or Big Love or something as good.

Here's the deal with cornstarch. I DO use cornstarch to thicken things up sometimes, but it has a kind of gluey feel to it. You know how sometimes sauces at feel kind of gummy and shine like glue? That can be the cornstarch. With this pudding you get kind of a custard like feel, smooth and wobbly.

Hope that all makes sense.

Next time you have a meeting in NYC I'll make sure to have some pudding on hand!