Whether sampled from a warm mixing bowl in your mother's kitchen or savored in that first cool spoonful at the dinner table, chocolate pudding has always been a favorite childhood delight.
Reliving some of your memories of it -- and creating new ones for your own family -- is as easy as whisking up a simple custard. A memorable pudding hinges on the best-quality chocolate (we use two kinds to guarantee an unforgettable fudge-like taste) and a thick, velvety texture.
To achieve that consistency, you have to keep the egg yolks from curdling. Do this by tempering them -- slowly whisking the hot milk and cream into the egg-and-cocoa mixture -- before you heat the custard. Do not let the mixture come to a boil, and stir with a wooden spoon to limit aeration and to keep your pudding dense. After pouring the dessert through a sieve, stir in semisweet chocolate to make it extra rich and silky. Then divide it among serving dishes, cover, refrigerate, and begin the most difficult step -- waiting for the pudding to set.
Tip: Be sure to use the freshest cream, pure vanilla extract, and finest chocolate available.
Chocolate Pudding How-To
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt. In a 4-cup measuring cup, combine 1 1/4 cups cream with milk and vanilla. Whisk 1 cup cream mixture into dry ingredients until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Whisk in remaining cream mixture until smooth.
2. Place saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add chocolate, and cook, whisking until chocolate is melted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter until melted. Using a 3-ounce ladle, pour pudding into six dessert cups. Refrigerate until completely set, about 1 hour.
3. Whip remaining cup of cream to soft peaks, and serve with pudding.