created: 2006-07-15 20:57:35
Man, this is good stuff if you're looking for an intense chocolate hit. Whenever I've made this it's been for no particular occasion other than a chocolate craving, and I've just made up a batch which I've put in the fridge and we've then worked our way through it. However, the cafeteria-connotations of pudding notwithstanding (which I don't have, as it happens, this type of pudding not being a British thing...), I think this would work well as a fancy dessert. It's much easier to make than a chocolate mousse (beating egg whites and melting chocolate always stresses me out). I would think the amounts could successfully be increased or decreased as necessary. And you can always call it a Pot de Creme if you're feeling pretentious. In fact, after eating a scrumptious dessert very evocative of this one that was called a "Chocolate-Espresso Pot de Creme" at Pair in Seattle, I'm considering adding some espresso next time I make this... The recipe is from Didi Emmons's Vegetarian Planet, where it's titled "Chocolate Blackout Pudding."
3 cups milk (any kind seems to work) 4 tablespoons cornstarch (or 5 tablespoons arrowroot) 1 egg yolk 1 egg [I normally just use 2 eggs, because I can't be bothered to separate an egg...] 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar [I use a bit less sugar than this because I don't like chocolate desserts to be too sweet, but I would probably stick to Didi's amounts the first time...] 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces, or 4 ounces chocolate chips [I've always used bittersweet chocolate] 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 tablespoon brandy or Grand Marnier (optional) Whipped cream (optional) 1. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the milk with the cornstarch, and whisk well. Add the yolk, whole egg, sugar, and cocoa, and whisk well. 2. In a large, heavy saucepan [this is important because it can burn otherwise], heat the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Then pour about half of the milk into the cornstarch mixture, stirring all the time. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan. Place the pan over low heat, and whisk constantly for about 5 minutes, until the pudding thickens. [While whisking this mixture, it always occurs to me that this must be how you make that thick Spanish or Italian hot chocolate...same thing but with less cornstarch, I suppose] The pudding should get very thick, like cold yogurt [I often have to turn the heat up a bit to get it to thicken appropriately]. 3. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the unsweetened and sweetened chocolate, the vanilla, and, if you'd like, the brandy or Grand Marnier. Stir until the chocolate is melted. 4. Ladle the pudding into mugs or cups, and chill it for at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve it cold, topped with whipped cream, if you like. Variation: for frozen pudding, ladle into plastic storage container instead of cups, and freeze for at least 3 or 4 hours. The outer part of the pudding will be frozen, the inner part creamy and very cold. Didi claims this is sublime, but I prefer the chilled version...