Pudding

On the off chance that you’re still searching for a last minute dessert for your Valentine’s Day meal, I thought I’d share this triple-chocolate chocolate pudding today.  It’s thick, rich and intensely chocolate-y in flavor due to the incorporation of unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder.  Pudding honestly doesn’t excite me much, mostly for textural reasons, but I did enjoy the flavor of this one.  I tried the recipe for Shane, who is a much bigger pudding fan than me, and he declared it a winner.  It’s a low stress, no-bake option; you can make it today to enjoy tomorrow with your sweetie! 

The pudding calls for whole milk, which I almost never have in the house.  I feared the pudding wouldn’t be as decadent with 1% milk though so I used a substitution I learned from Cook’s Illustrated a while ago that I employ regularly in my baking.  Combine 1% milk and half and half in a ratio of 2:1 and you’ve essentially replicated the fat content of whole milk (so 2/3 cup of 1% milk to 1/3 cup of half and half for every cup of whole milk called for in a recipe). 

Whipped Cream Trick

Although I don’t enjoy pudding, you know what I do love that also serves as the perfect garnish for this pudding?  Homemade whipped cream!  Seriously, I cannot resist the stuff.  Last week I read a post on The Kitchn (who’d seen the tip in the LA Times) about making whipped cream in a food processor.  To say I was intrigued would be putting it mildly, so I gave it a test run when I made the pudding.  I only wanted enough whipped cream to top one bowl of pudding so I pulled out my mini prep food processor and poured in just a small amount of cold heavy cream (no need to chill the bowl or the blade of your food processor).  If you want sweetened whipped cream just add sugar and/or vanilla to the food processor along with the heavy cream.  Less than one minute of processing later?  Picture-perfect light and fluffy whipped cream.  Best.trick.ever!  I will never make whipped cream in my stand mixer again.  Even if you don’t make the pudding, you’ve got to give the whipped cream a try! 

Triple-Chocolate Chocolate Pudding
from Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours by Sarabeth Levine

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put the butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water.  Melt the butter completely, then add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate to the bowl with the butter.  Melt the chocolate until smooth, stirring frequently.  Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.

Heat the milk and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan set over low heat until it begins to steam. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt together.  Add the eggs, egg yolk, and heavy cream and whisk to combine.  Slowly add about half of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Pour the egg/milk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, whisking frequently.  Reduce heat to low and boil for 30 seconds. 

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the melted chocolate/butter mixture, rum, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Pour into a heatproof bowl or small individual heatproof ramekins.  (I strained the pudding through a fine mesh strainer, but only out of an over abundance of caution.)  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.  Pierce the plastic with the tip of a knife a few times and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.  Transfer the pudding to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours before serving (or up to 3 days).