As a mother of two little ones, a few years back I embarked on a quest to find the perfect chocolate pudding recipe. It started because my kids would see those plastic individually-sealed “pudding cups” while grocery shopping. They begged and pleaded until I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I broke down and bought them once in awhile. The thing is, I knew that I could make something that tasted so much better and was less-heavily processed. Let’s be honest, chocolate pudding isn’t exactly a health food, but I feel better knowing I have control over the ingredient list. And it’s not like kids are going to stop begging for it. This is the recipe that I found– and it’s marvelous.
This chocolate pudding is decadent. It has a deep, rich, cocoa flavor. So rich, in fact, that I’ve scaled back the amount of chocolate on occasion just to make sure it’s exactly what my kids are looking for. You may want to do the same, though note that now I generally make it as listed in the recipe. It’s a good thing Aanen and Aria inherited my out-of-control zeal for chocolate. The texture is beautifully silky. It’s substantial, though not overly heavy because it’s based on milk, rather than cream. And it’s not just for the kids. This pudding’s flavor is profound enough to make it a versatile all-around dessert. It’s perfect for a lovely weeknight, or even a more upscale weekend dinner party.
Whatever occassion you decide to make it for, know that in my opinion it’s much better served cold. My kids– quite clearly– agree. As you can imagine, our evenings get rushed from time to time. On a few of those occasions, we grew impatient waiting for the pudding to cool. I served it warm, and it went…nowhere. I know, I know. Some of you probably like warm pudding. But if you know your family prefers it cold, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to allow it to chill.
The Recipe: Perfect Chocolate Pudding
(Makes about 6 ramekins)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt, in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk making sure to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water, stirring occasionally and scraping down the bottom and sides. Use a whisk, if any lumps should begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture should begin to thicken and coat the back of a wooden spoon, add the chocolate. Continue to stir until the pudding is smooth and thick, about 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Or skip this step if you feel that it is smooth enough to your liking. Ladle pudding into individual ramekins and place plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, though the longer the better, in my opinion. Skip the plastic wrap, if you prefer to have “skin” on the top of your pudding. Serve with freshly whipped cream and a big ol’ smile! Enjoy.
Source: Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen
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