Pudding has never been one of my comfort foods. That spot goes to spaghetti and meatballs, potato cheese soup, warm homemade bread with butter and warm chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream. But the early nightfall combined with cold and rainy weather made me feel like warm chocolate pudding was an appropriate and comforting dessert. I’ve actually never really made pudding before, probably because I’m not much of a pudding eater. If I’m going to eat something with that consistency, I’d rather eat ice cream. But I’m trying to vary my baking repertoire so I did get out of my comfort (haha) zone and give this recipe a whirl. It didn’t hurt that I also had some milk to use up. I think half my baking experiments are driven by using up ingredients before their expiration date.
As with anything else, the quality of your ingredients is the biggest factor in how well something tastes or turns out. I used Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate for this one and also Pernigotti cocoa. Past experience has taught me that using that much Pernigotti would make for a very rich, chocolaty product so I actually combined the Pernigotti with an almost-equal amount of Hershey’s cocoa. Yes, the bland Hershey’s cocoa I’ve dissed in the past. Why? Because it would temper some of the rich chocolatey-ness from the Pernigotti while still meeting the cocoa requirement. It worked, too, as while the end result was definitely chocolatey, it wasn’t too chocolatey. It’s all about personal preference though so if you have a high tolerance for chocolate, then go all the way with the good cocoa. This version was enough for me to be satisfied after a few spoonfuls.
One important step in the directions – make sure you follow the directions to start with a small amount of milk to make the paste with the dry ingredients before you add the rest of the milk. If you don’t, it’ll be too difficult to combine the dry and liquid ingredients together to make a smooth, lump-free pudding. I may shortchange the frying time of the chicken but I take the combining of pudding ingredients seriously. Also, keep whisking as the directions say as that’ll help avoid lumps from forming in the pudding too. This is just like making pastry cream where it’s important to have smooth consistency and no lumps.
Stovetop double-chocolate pudding
Source: The Weekend Baker by Abigail Dodge (Book #9)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3-1/2 cups whole milk
4 ounces semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended. Pour in about ½ cup of the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. (Don't cheat this step or else you'll end up with a lumpy mixture.) Whisk is the remaining milk.
Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a full boil. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and vanilla and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the pudding is smooth. Pour into serving bowls. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool slightly and serve warm, or refrigerate until room temperature or cold.
Storage: Cover and refrigerate the cooled pudding for up to 4 days.
Carol Ramos blogs at The Pastry Chef's Baking.
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