I’ve had all the stuff to make this post in my fridge for days but it was always preempted by something else…right up until I decided that 11:45 last night was when I needed to make pudding. Lucky for me the whole process only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, maybe another 10 minutes to wash the dishes, and when I woke up this morning it was to a perfectly set bowl of chocolate heaven in my fridge…that I totally ate for breakfast because I couldn’t waste the one I made up for a picture, now could I?
Now some of you may have had a version of my pudding at the Ex-Employer Who Shall Not Be Named…but that isn’t the real one. That is the one that was tweaked out to suit the needs of mass production & cost effectiveness. This one here? This is the one I make at home. Yes. It’s better. Not even kidding.
Is it worth it to make this pudding in lieu of buying the stuff at the grocery store? YES YES YES, a million times YES! Go look at this, it is the nutritional info & ingredient list in the pudding cups you buy at the store. Now I will make no claims that my pudding is better calorically per serving than the store bought, truth be told I have never done the math to figure that out, but I can assure you that every ingredient contained in my pudding occurs in nature of its own volition (with the exception of the liqueur, but thats an optional add for the grown up version) and all are found in my kitchen pretty much all the time. All of that aside the texture of homemade pudding is so much better than the stuff in the little cups and the flavor so deep…its like a chocolategasm.
From a method standpoint I have seen quite a few different way used to make pudding from the too easy “put everything in a pot and stir over medium heat until it is thickened” like I would for a curd to ridiculously complicated recipes involving the melting of chocolate and double boilers and just nonsense. My method walks the middle, it is not the easiest way, but the end result is superior and you have far better control, nor is it so complicated you should feel intimidated to be throwing it together, say, at 11:45 on a Friday night…
Tempering is the gradual addition of a hot liquid to a cold liquid in order to bring the cold liquid’s temperature closer to that of the heated liquid so they can be combined with no danger of curdling. It is most commonly used with eggs, like in this recipe ~ the eggs are mixed with flavoring ingredients, the cream heated and about half is slowly whisked into the egg mixture to warm the eggs gradually so the two can be combined on the stove top to create, basically, a creme anglaise (fancy term for vanilla sauce) or custard. If you don’t temper the egg mixture to warm it up the eggs will cook far too quickly when added to the simmering cream and will scramble. Scrambled eggs in a creme anglaise, it tastes about as good as it sounds…not very.
This is also a KILLER filling for a chocolate cream pie, just pour it into a crust to set and top with whipped cream.
Best Chocolate Pudding. Ever.
- 2 cups Milk
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- 1 Vanilla Bean, cut in half, scraped & steeped in the cream while it heats (optional)
- 3ea Large Eggs
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 2oz Liqueur (Kaluaha, Grand Marnier, Brandy, Cognac, Cordials) optional
- 1# Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, chopped up (good chocolate chips are ok)
- 4 Tbsp Softened Butter
Heat the milk, cream and vanilla bean on the stove over medium high heat. Cream will boil over quickly and its a mess. I start it lower while I get the other stuff ready and turn it up when I’m standing there to watch it.
In a separate bowl mix up the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla & liqueur until completely combined. Chop the chocolate up if needed, too. Then go back and watch the cream. Note on the liqueur: you are heating this up enough to denature it if that is a concern, it doesn’t hurt not to add it, but the flavor is better when you do.
When the cream starts to simmer, small bubbles start breaking the surface, you are ready to temper it into the egg mixture. Set the egg bowl on a damp towel to stop it from spinning around and slowly pour (or ladle) the hot cream into the egg mixture stirring continuously. You will add about half of the heated cream into the eggs. Touch the side of the bowl – the mix is hot and shiny smooth.
Put the cream back on the stove and bring to a simmer. When it gets there slowly temper the warmed egg mixture back into the simmering cream and stir constantly while the mixture thickens. You will fell it thickening as you whisk it, you want to allow it to thicken and the starch to cook out but do not bring it to a simmer, the eggs will scramble. Takes about 3-4 minutes of stirring to get to nappe – coating the back of a spoon like below.
When it gets thick taste it and make sure the starch is cooked out, if it still has any starchiness to it keep stirring for another minute or so. When it’s ready pour in the chopped chocolate and stir until its melted. Add the butter and stir in to melt. Strain with a hand strainer to get out the vanilla beans into a bowl. Put into the fridge and let set for a couple hours at least. But taste it warm…one of the best parts of making this is that oh my rich warm pudding before it goes into the fridge. Life changing.
If you want to put it into little cups for single servings, pies or parfaits or anything like that it is easiest and neatest to do it while it is warm, it pours wicked easy. It is also thick enough when cooled to be the most decadent chocolate dip ever for pretzels, fruit, berries. Its just damn good and for the most part easy.
I top it with whipped cream – I do it by hand with a wire whisk, a touch of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla, takes about 2 minutes to whip it up quick. Drizzle with chocolate or raspberry sauce, maybe some toasted almonds or hazelnuts…nom :)