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double chocolate pudding

November 18, 2010

And so, I arise from the ashes of my memo to bring you this mediocre metaphor that I’m not even going to bother finishing. It’s true, I’m alive! For the moment, anyway. Well, at least until finals start. And I have a ginormous backlog of recipes and photos from the past month, plus we’re getting close to psychotic-amounts-of-baking season! You have been warned. 

So. Fully a month+one week ago, Chris and I decided we wanted something chocolatey for dessert after dinner. We didn’t really have any fancy ingredients on hand, and it was already late enough that it probably would have been socially unacceptable to wait for a cake to bake and eat it right before bedtime. I’d kind of been meaning to try homemade pudding for a while, so I checked out the Cook’s Illustrated version, and we had all the ingredients. Easiest decision ever. 

Have you ever had homemade pudding? It is so, so, so different from the packaged kind. I’d always been kind of wary of trying it out, just because of how I felt about the pudding of my childhood. I mean, boxed pudding mix is fine (but still not something I’d choose over, say, anything else chocolate), but you know those little plastic snack pack things? Yeah, those skeeve me out. I mean, don’t get me wrong—I still begged my mom to get them for me because all the cool kids in elementary school and/or at summer camp brought individually-packaged things to lunch, and there was a time when I wanted to be cool. But they always tasted kind of metallic and weird, and not at all like, oh, chocolate cake. 

But this thing’s a totally different story. This pudding was rich and smooth and big-time chocolatey. And as an added bonus, it was ready to eat in probably 30 or 45 minutes or so—as long as we were willing to eat it warm, straight off the stovetop (um, have you met us?). In conclusion, it was yummy. And if you can restrain yourself from eating it all out of the saucepan that night, it’s even better after hanging out in the fridge for a couple days. 

Double Chocolate Pudding
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 cup light cream [we used heavy cream and replaced the whole milk with skim] 
3 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. To melt the chocolate, chop and place it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, stirring once or twice until smooth. You can also melt the chocolate in a microwave at 50 percent power for 3 1/2 minutes, stopping to stir after 2 minutes. If the chocolate is not yet completely melted, heat up to 30 seconds more at 50 percent power. After melting, allow to cool slightly.
2. Sift cocoa powder, cornstarch, sugar, and salt into large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Slowly whisk in light cream, followed by yolks, then milk. Stir in chocolate. (Chocolate will form clumps that smooth with cooking.)
3. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with whisk, scraping bottom and sides of pot. Pudding will gradually darken and thicken. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring gently but constantly with wooden spoon until pudding very thickly coats spoon or instant-read thermometer registers about 200 degrees, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. [If you’re really lucky, it’ll start bubbling and blooping like that hot fudge monster thing in Candyland. Hooray!]
4. Pass pudding through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing with rubber spatula. Leave residue in strainer. Stir butter and vanilla into pudding. Serve warm or directly cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap, cool 30 minutes, and refrigerate. [We skipped this whole straining-butter step entirely, and I think it turned out fine.]

Source: Cook’s Illustrated 

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