I stirred three gallons of chocolate pudding that took forever to thicken, and I was drenched in sweat, unable to distinguish whether it was the heat emanating from the stove, the 104 degrees outside or one of my hot flashes. Possibly a combination of the three, and strong enough to send me running into one of the walk-in fridges.
Never before had I considered the side effects of menopause on someone who cooks professionally. The only saving grace is the refrigeration system that cools me down in no time. But never mind my hot flashes. Back to the pudding.
A million years ago I came across a chocolate pudding recipe from a famed old-style Italian restaurant in LA, Vicenti. They called it Chocolate Budino but, in Italy, a budino is more akin to a jello, and always prepared in a bundt mold. I remember wanting to try this particular budino because the recipe is extremely counterintuitive: it calls for adding cold milk to cornstarch and sugar, with the eggs are tempered off the stove. There is also more butter than in a typical chocolate pudding and a lot less sugar. The result is silky smooth, versatile and grown-up. I use Valrhona Equatorial chocolate, which has a 72% cacao content, making the result very dark, in color and taste. Feel free to use whatever pleases your palate (just not Hershey or Cadbury, if you don’t want to hear me yelling).
Serve it by dressing it up with some meringue cookies and whipped cream, or use it to fill a cake. Or chill it and sprinkle it with fresh berries. It comes together in minutes (unless you make three gallons) and it never disappoints.
7 oz dark chocolate, cut in small chunks (180 g)
4 T cornstarch
6 T + 1 ts sugar
2 1/3 C milk (560 ml)
3 1/2 T butter (50 g), room temperature
2 egg yolks
- In a saucepan, over low heat, melt the chocolate with 2 T of water. Stir constantly to avoid scorching.
- In another saucepan, whisk together cornstarch and sugar. Whiks in the cold milk and melted chocolate. If it looks like it’s clumping, don’t worry, it will come together eventually. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until creamy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. You will feel it thickening.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter. Temper the yolks in a separate bowl with a bit of the chocolate mixture then add the yolk mixture back to the pan and whisk.
- Strain if you notice any clumps then pour in 6 ramekins. Cover with saran wrap (making sure the film touches the pudding) to avoid forming a skin.
- Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Top image courtesy of sissimum