MARCH 1999
RECIPES

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate-Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Bread with Chocolate Chunks and Pecans

My Grandmother's Truffles

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Chocolate Puddings

Tips: So many of you have inquired about recipes for chocolate pudding lately that I'm beginning to wonder about my readers being in cahoots! Well, no matter. Both of the following puddings are made with cornstarch, which means they don't freeze and are best consumed within about 24 hours of cooking. Straight from the box, cornstarch may be stirred, whisked, beaten, sifted--almost anything. But once it's combined with a liquid and heated, it cannot be overstirred or heated too much or for too long, or your pudding will thin out and never thicken back up. To avoid this, always stir pudding gently but constantly (never beat it; I use a whisk or slotted spoon to cut down on lumps), cook over medium heat, and remove from the heat as soon as it's done. If you don't like a "skin" on the top of your pudding, place a piece of plastic wrap (pierced in several places) directly onto the top of each pudding as soon as it's poured into individual dishes. If a "skin" doesn't bother you, wait till puddings are cold, then cover tightly to prevent drying out.

Everyday Chocolate Pudding

You can use either regular nonalkalized unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch process unsweetened here; the latter makes for a much darker and, I think, more chocolatey pudding. If you like a less-sweet pudding, add an additional tablespoon of cocoa. If desired, serve this with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process OR regular nonalkalized cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Place a strainer over a pitcher of about a 3 cup capacity; set aside near stovetop. Haveready 4 to 5 ramekins or custard cups, each of 2/3 to 3/4 cup capacity; set aside near stovetop. In heavy-bottomed, nonreactive, 1-1/2 to 2 quart pot, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. With whisk or slotted spoon, mix thoroughly, pressing out as many lumps as possible.

In small bowl, combine egg yolks with several tablespoons of milk (no need to measure--just use a small amount). With fork, beat well to combine. Off heat, add yolk mixture to pot; stir gently to combine ingredients. Stirring constantly but gently, gradually add remaining milk to pot. With a rubber spatula, scrape sides and bottom of pot, and press out any visible lumps of cocoa.

Set pot over medium heat; stir constantly until pudding comes to a boil. At first, pudding will have a thin layer of foam on top--OK. Shortly before it boils, it will become lumpy--don't panic. Just keep stirring gently but constantly. When mixture has thickened and foam is beginning to be incorporated, stop stirring momentarily to check for a boil. Once mixture boils, boil and stir gently for 90 seconds (1-1/2 minutes), reducing heat if necessary to keep pudding at a low boil. After 90 seconds, remove from heat. Add vanilla and stir in just to incorporate. Immediately pour pudding into strainer. When pudding has been strained, immediately divide evenly among serving dishes, leaving some headroom on each. Cool for a few minutes, then chill until set, at least 2 to 3 hours.

4 to 5 servings


Luxurious Chocolate Pudding

Dense, rich, creamy, ultra-chocolate, and not too sweet. Please serve this with lightly sweetened whipped cream; the pudding really demands it. And use the best chocolate you can find; if it isn't perfectly smooth in bar form, it won't be smooth in the pudding.

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 ozs. best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 oz. best-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Place a strainer over a pitcher of about 3 cup capacity; set aside near stovetop. Have ready 5 to 6 ramekins or wineglasses of about 2/3 cup capacity; set aside near stovetop. In heavy-bottomed, nonreactive, 1-1/2 to 2 quart pot, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. With whisk or slotted spoon, blend thoroughly, pressing out any lumps.

In small bowl, combine egg yolks with several tablespoons of milk (no need to measure--just use a small amount). With fork, beat well to combine. Set aside yolk mixture and remaining milk.

In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolates. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; pour about one-third of hot cream into chocolates. Let stand a minute or two, then whisk or stir until smooth. If necessary, place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often just until melted. Remove from heat and hot water. Gradually stir or whisk remaining cream into this mixture, which will become rather thin.

Off heat, add yolk mixture to sugar-cornstarch mixture in pot. Stir gently to combine. Add chocolate-cream mixture, which should still be warm; stir gently to blend in partially. With rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of pot well; press out any visible cocoa lumps.

In small saucepan, heat remaining milk over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very hot. Stirring constantly but gently, gradually add hot milk to mixture in pot. Scrape pot bottom and sides with rubber spatula again, then set over medium heat. Stir constantly and slowly until mixture boils. At first, there will be a layer of foam on top of the pudding. Shortly before the mixture boils, it will become lumpy--that's OK. Just keep stirring constantly and gently. When pudding thickens and foam begins to incorporate into it, stop stirring momentarily to check for boiling. Once mixture boils, boil and stir for 90 seconds (1-1/2 minutes), reducing heat if necessary to keep pudding at a low boil.

After 90 seconds, remove from heat. Immediately add butter bits and vanilla. Let stand a moment or two, then gently blend in butter and vanilla only until incorporated. Quickly pour into strainer set above pitcher.

Once pudding is strained, immediately divide evenly among ramekins or wineglasses, leaving some headroom on each for whipped cream at serving time. Cool slightly, then chill until set, at least 2 hours. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

5 to 6 servings


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