It is very difficult to work at your dining table/desk knowing that this pudding waits in your fridge. It is more difficult to work when you are distracted by a craving for chocolate and the desire to stir something, which is where this chocolate pudding comes in.
Last week I was restless and looking to make something in the kitchen, and one of the great things about this pudding is how quickly it comes together. The other great things? Big shards of chocolate melting into thick and creamy milk freckled with vanilla beans. I could’ve quit early and called it vanilla bean pudding it was so tasty, but I resisted my impatience and was rewarded for it.
After 15 minutes in my makeshift double boiler, everything truly changes. The pudding becomes thick in a way it wasn’t a minute earlier. This pudding is rich and made with a bittersweet chocolate to satisfy my love for dark chocolate. And you could use vanilla extract, but if you’re making pudding for yourself, why not use a musky vanilla bean?
Deb of Smitten Kitchen and Luisa of The Wednesday Chef adapted this recipe from John Scharffenberger, though I used Ghirardelli chocolate. The first time I made this pudding I accidentally used half the chocolate. It was still delicious.
Serve the pudding as it is in ramekins or top each serving with toasted hazelnuts. A little sea salt wouldn’t be a bad thing.
I served mine in these short coffee cups, which I’m using for the first time since my Abuelito left us a year ago this month. He was less than a couple of months away from his next birthday and robbed of just one more birthday cake, which annoys me; he loved cake.
Part of his magnet collection lives on my fridge, but I still can’t bring myself to watch our favorite game show, Wheel of Fortune, without him around. Anyway, he drank his afternoon instant coffee in these cups, and since I’ve yet to meet a man with a greater sweet tooth, I think he would’ve liked the idea of using these little mugs for dessert.
silky chocolate pudding
To match the smooth and rich taste of this pudding, real vanilla beans seemed like a better match than storebought vanilla extract, but you could use either.
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, added in with the chocolate)
3 cups whole milk (I subbed in 1 cup of heavy cream and all was well)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a large heat-proof bowl. Use a small sharp knife to split the vanilla bean lengthwise, then use the dull side of the blade to scrape out the vanilla beans. Stir the vanilla beans and the pods in with the cornstarch mixture. Slowly stir in the milk with a heatproof spatula until the ingredients are incorporated.
For your makeshift double boiler, place the bowl over a medium pot of gently simmering water and stir occasionally. After 15 to 20 minutes, everything changes. The pudding thickens, and when it coats the back of a spoon (or your spatula), remove the spent vanilla bean pods and stir in the chocolate. Keep stirring until the pudding is smooth and slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour pudding into a measuring cup with a spout. Pour the pudding into individual ramekins or coffee cups. You could strain the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer to get rid of any lumps, but I decided this was one extra step I didn’t need between me and chocolate pudding. Cover each container of pudding with plastic wrap, making sure to smooth it gently against the surface of the pudding if you’ve got something against pudding skin. Place the pudding in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.