I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Chocolate Puddings
Basic and Elegant

Chocolate Pudding  

I have received so many requests for a "good chocolate pudding recipe" lately that I decided to include two in this edition. One is a basic, "workhorse" pudding, perfectly serviceable for everyday. The other is for a special occasion, when you want something ultra-chocolate, dense, very rich, and not too sweet—definitely more of a pudding for adults, and lightly sweetened whipped cream is a necessity when you serve it. You must use the best chocolate you can find for the Elegant Chocolate Pudding; remember that if your chocolate isn't perfectly smooth in bar form, it won't be smooth in the pudding, either.

Both puddings are made with cornstarch, which means they do not freeze and are best consumed within about 24 hours of cooking. When cornstarch is in dry form, it can be sifted, stirred, whisked--anything. But once it's combined with liquid, you cannot overheat or overbeat it, or your mixture will thin out and never thicken back up. Be careful. Stir these puddings (never beat them!), and cook over medium heat as directed, and you'll be OK. I use a whisk or slotted spoon to stir, which helps to cut down on lumps, and I always strain the finished puddings to ensure perfect smoothness.


Basic Chocolate Pudding

4 to 5 servings


1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process
   OR regular nonalkalized cocoa powder (see Note)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Pinch salt
2 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
2 cups whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Optional for Serving:
Lightly sweetened whipped cream


Set a strainer over a pitcher or liquid measure of about 3 cup capacity. Set four to five ramekins or custard cups of 2/3 to 3/4 cup capacity near stovetop. Combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt in heavy-bottomed, nonreactive, 1-1/2 to 2 quart pot. With whisk or slotted spoon, stir well to combine, pressing out any lumps.

In small bowl, combine egg yolks and several tablespoons of milk (no need to measure). With fork, beat to blend well. Off heat, add to sugar mixture in pot; stir gently to combine. Press out any cocoa lumps with rubber spatula. Gradually add remaining milk to pot, stirring gently but constantly. Scrape sides and bottom of pot with rubber spatula.

Place pot over medium heat. Stir gently but constantly. There will be a thin layer of foam on top of the pudding at this stage--OK. Just before the pudding boils, it will thicken and become lumpy--also OK. Just keep stirring gently but constantly. Stop stirring momentarily to check for boiling; when mixture boils, boil and stir gently for 1-1/2 minutes, reducing heat if necessary to keep pudding at a low boil. Remove from heat. Gently stir in vanilla just until blended. Immediately pour into strainer set over pitcher.

When strained, immediately divide pudding evenly among ramekins. To prevent formation of a top "skin", place a piece of plastic wrap, pierced in several spots, directly on the top surface of the pudding. Cool for a few minutes, then chill until set, at least 2 or 3 hours. If desired, garnish with lightly sweetened whipped cream just before serving.

Either Dutch process or regular nonalkalized cocoa powder will work in this recipe. The Dutch process cocoa yields a much darker, more chocolatey pudding. If you wish a more bittersweet pudding, increase the amount of cocoa powder used to 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp.


Elegant Chocolate Pudding

5 to 6 servings


1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. sifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Pinch salt
2 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
1 cup whole milk, divided
2 ozs. best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 oz. best-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla

For serving:
Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Have ready five to six ramekins or wineglasses of about 2/3 cup capacity; set near stovetop. Place a fine strainer over a pitcher of about a 3-cup capacity; set aside near stovetop. In 1-1/2 to 2 quart heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. With whisk or slotted spoon, stir well to combine thoroughly and break up as many lumps as possible. Set aside. In small bowl, combine egg yolks with several tablespoons (no need to measure) of the milk; with fork, beat to blend well. Set this mixture and the remaining milk aside.

In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolates. In small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, heat cream, stirring occasionally, until very hot (cream can also be heated in the microwave if you watch it carefully). Remove from heat; pour about one-third of hot cream into chocolate. Let stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk until smooth. If necessary, place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), and stir often just until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. Gradually stir or whisk in remaining cream (mixture will be thin).

Off heat, pour egg yolk mixture into sugar-cornstarch mixture. Stir (do not beat) with whisk or slotted spoon to combine. Gradually stir in warm chocolate-cream mixture until partly blended. Heat remaining milk until very hot (do this in heavy-bottomed small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, or in microwave). Stirring gently but constantly, gradually add hot milk to mixture in pot. All ingredients should now be in the pot except for the butter and vanilla.

Set pot over medium heat. Stir gently but constantly, and scrape down the sides and corners once or twice with a rubber spatula. Mixture will be thin at first, with a layer of foam on top from the cocoa--OK. Shortly before mixture boils, it may become lumpy, but just keep stirring gently and constantly with the whisk or slotted spoon. As pudding thickens, foamy layer wil become incorporated. Stop stirring momentarily to check for boiling. Once mixture boils, boil and stir it for 90 seconds (1-1/2 minutes), reducing heat as necessary so pudding doesn't boil too quickly. After 90 seconds, remove from heat. Quickly add butter bits and vanilla; stir in gently, just until incorporated.

Pour pudding through strainer set over pitcher. Working quickly, divide among serving dishes, leaving some headroom on top for whipped cream at serving time. Cover each dish with a piece of plastic wrap that has been pierced in several spots, placing it directly on the top surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Cool a few minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.


I Love Chocolate


Copyright © 1999 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.

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This page created March 1999