Wednesday, May 19, 2010

240 boxes full of pudding.

OK, not really. In fact, no boxes of pudding were harmed in the making of this particular dessert. But every time I think of pudding, I'm reminded of that so-funny-it-hurts sketch from The State, where Barry and Levon got, um, familiar with a serious amount of pudding. Watch it, if you like, then read on.

So, back to the pudding. The chocolate pudding you see above is a leftover cook's treat type of deal. I made this (delicious) chocolate cream pie to bring to dinner at my brother and sister-in-law's place a couple of Sundays ago, and there was just enough pudding left over to make a nice dessert for me on Monday night.

The pudding is intensely chocolatey. It bears little to no resemblance to a Jell-O pudding cup, and that's a damn good thing. You melt and blend both bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate into a homemade pudding, then add a touch of vanilla to round things out, and some butter to make them nice and smooth. It's so chocolatey, in fact, that you really do need the sweetened whipped cream to cut through the richness.

Not like I've ever needed an excuse to eat plenty of sweetened whipped cream.

Dark Chocolate Pudding
Adapted from Gourmet

5 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. salt
6 large egg yolks
4 1/2 cups milk
3 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Add the chocolates to the top of a double boiler (or just a metal bowl set over simmering water). Melt chocolates together, stirring, until smooth. Remove the bowl from heat and set aside on a trivet or pile of dishtowels to cool.

Next, in a heavy saucepan (about 3 quarts) whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks until combined well and add milk in a stream, whisking. Cook mixture slowly over moderate heat, whisking constantly.

The custard will thicken gradually, and eventually will begin to boil (You'll see bubbles pop on the surface.). Continue to whisk, keeping the mixture smooth as it thickens to a near pudding-like texture. This can take several minutes; be patient. Don't turn the heat up too high, as the custard can scald.

Once your custard is pudding-like, remove it from the heat and force it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in the cooled chocolate, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Cover surface of the pudding with plastic wrap and cool completely in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, spoon the pudding into small bowls and top - generously - with whipped cream.

Serves 6-8.

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