Friday, August 13, 2010

Chocolate, When Administered Properly, Can Be Therapeutic

Last night, instead of making dinner, I  just wanted chocolate pudding. Truth be told, I just wanted chocolate-anything, but I had happened across some recipes for chocolate pudding recently and decided that was the direction I needed to be going in.
This is the first time that I've ever made pudding that didn't start out powdered and in a box. And just like making pancakes from scratch for the first time, for the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone needs the instant packet. It took less than 15 minutes, start to finish! Just how much time do we need to save anyway? The part that takes the longest is waiting for the pudding to chill in the fridge and even the instant variety can't do too much about that.

I know that better quality chocolate will produce a better chocolate pudding... that's a given. This is something you can whip up fast though, without a trip to the store. No expensive ingredients, just regular chocolate chips. Was this the best chocolate pudding I've ever had? Oh, heck no. But it didn't have to be, because in no time at all there was chocolate pudding in a bowl in front of me. I also had a spoon. The rest should be pretty obvious.

Easy Chocolate (Orange) Pudding
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Desserts – Best Of The Kitchen Library (2005) pg. 202

2 cups whole milk
4 yolks (from large eggs)
3 Tblsp cornstarch 
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Grand Marnier or orange extract (or see notes for other ideas)

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and mix together thoroughly. Pour the rest of the milk in a medium saucepan and heat it up on medium until little bubbles start to collect around the sides.

Whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture in the bowl, then pour it all back into the sauce pan and heat it on medium-low heat. Whisk constantly, scraping sides occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue whisking for one minute.

Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate chips, vanilla, and the orange extract (or other flavor). Once the chocolate is completely melted, switch to a stick blender and blend until the pudding is smooth.

Pour into a serving bowl or individual dishes. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down onto the surface if you don't want "pudding skin" to form. Refrigerate until completely chilled or until you just can't wait any longer.

My Notes: Added the orange flavoring to give it a bit more depth. Try mint extract or Kahlua or raspberry syrup or strong coffee... anything that's on hand really. Or skip it altogether and double the vanilla. Ended up a bit lumpy which kind of bothered me (it's a texture thing). So I went after it with the immersion blender until it was super smooth. Next time I'll do that earlier on; while it's cooking or just after. The most important discovery is that the pudding will cool much faster if chilled in individual serving dishes rather than in a single large bowl.

Other easy chocolate puddings that are also going to be better than instant...
*With the left over egg whites, treat yourself to a nourishing facial mask or... continue your sweet-a-thon by making some meringue cookies like these.
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  1. Mmmmm. I will try it with Kahlua, I believe. Double mmmm.

    This reminds me of a conversation I had last week with the lady who runs the ice cream shop next door. She said two older ladies came by and fretted for 15 minutes because they wanted a waffle sundae (she makes homemade Belgian waffles right there on the spot), but they hadn't eaten dinner yet.

    They finally walked off, only to return five minutes later saying, "We decided we only live once. We're having waffle sundae for dinner!"

    So cute. Them and their waffle sundae, you and your chocolate pudding ...

    Inspirational, really.

  2. Leslie: What a great story about the two ladies! I love it!... except now you've got me wanting ice cream in a waffle cone. Really really wanting ice cream now. You know, if I could whip that up from pantry staples in 15 minutes, I probably would never even think about chocolate pudding. Ever. That's how much I love ice cream.

  3. It's a family thang Stephanie! And I might your sister (and fellow ice-cream fanatic) I am surprised that you don't have at the very least, a whole chapter dedicated to ice-cream! Oh, I do like the pudding, but I'd bathe get the idea. yummm on the pudding BTW.
    Remember the ginger ice-cream we made Daddy?

  4. sharkbait: Without any means of making ice cream from scratch, I'm afraid that delightful dessert remains firmly planted in the "buy it" category. I do remember the ginger ice cream... it had really great flavor!


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