Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chocolate Pudding

When I was a kid, I remember going up to my grandma's house for a visit...and a treat. And every once in a while pudding was on the menu. I liked pudding, but I wasn't always thrilled about it. Sometimes a scary little skin was on top of the pudding, choking me with every bite. I still shudder to think of it, but it left me with a strong dislike for custard or pudding or anything with potential for skin (gravy, soups, hot milk, etc). 
But then I learned that if you put a bit of plastic wrap touching the pudding, it would prevent the nasty skin. I could finally eat pudding and enjoy it! Because when it really comes down to it, pudding from scratch is a whole lot better than pudding from a box. It's rich and creamy, with a satisfying, but not overwhelming, chocolate taste. And with a slight variation. you can use this recipe to make a fantastic chocolate cream pie.

Chocolate Pudding
Recipe from The All American Dessert Book
Pictures by Kelly

2/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch*
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
whipped cream for serving (optional)

  1. In a large saucepan, stir in the together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt until well blended. Add about 3/4 cup of the milk, stirring until smoothly incorporated. Gradually stir in the remaining milk and the butter. 
  2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, continue cooking until mixture bubbles and thickens slightly, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Add chopped chocolate, stirring until it completely melts and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Strain the pudding through a medium fine sieve into a large bowl. Lay plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
*Increase cornstarch to 1/4 cup for pie filling. Strain the mixture into a baked and cooled pie shell. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours. Top with whipped cream.

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