Pudding on the Ritz

I like Fred Astaire. But that’s not who I’m talking about.

Hi. This is what I’m talking about.

Oh baby. THIS is what I’M TALKING ABOUT.

Yesterday, I decided that I wanted to make chocolate pudding. I don’t mean instant pudding (which, growing up, has always been a lover of mine. I’m sorry, mom and dad, that you had to find out about our relationship in this way… But pudding and vanilla…I love them both.) I mean PUDDING. Like…I was prepared to start tempering egg yolks and going the total route of pastry cream. So, I opened up my Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan and found the recipe for chocolate pudding. However, there were really a lot of steps to this; such as dirtying up my food processor. This was too much effort for my little open-up-a-box-and-whisk-in-milk-until-yummy self. Prepared to give up, I went onto Smitten Kitchen and found this one recipe for chocolate pudding by Mr. Scharffenberger himself! I’ve tried some of his company’s chocolate and instantly decided that this man was no Hershey (I’m NOT knockin’ on Hershey’s, put down your baseball bats. Thank you.) but someone who made some of the most delicioso (can’t spell, sorry) chocolate product.

In conclusion, I used my E. Guittard chocolate that my buddy gave to me, simply because I had no Scharffen Berger on hand, and I don’t think that we have a store at our mall, I am too impatient to order, and I was eating the E. Guittard chocolate and decided that I needed to apply this amazingness to something amazing before I finish it off without realizing it.

I like chocolate.

Its fairly simple, too, you don’t even have to bust out your eggs!

First, set a deeper saucepan with about 1 1/2 inch of water on the stove to simmer. While this is heating up, whisk together your cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a bowl. A while ago, my mom accidentally put my cornstarch in the fridge and it got all clumpy. That’s fine, put it through a fine mesh strainer and stir it all through, that will take care of your lumps. Set the mixing bowl (preferably a Pyrex or stainless steel, don’t use plastic please) over the saucepan (or you can have a double boiler..which is what I don’t have) and..

Whisk in the milk until all the lumpiness is gone. Allow to heat for about 15-20 minutes, whisking every once in a while to make sure that all the lumps go away (they’ll appear on the bottom, scrape and whisk. This is totally normal.) While your waiting, chop up your chocolate.

Very finely, set aside. Now, come back to your milk mixture and whisk. You’ll notice it to start getting a bit thicker now that the cornstarch has heated properly and ‘bloomed’. Dip a spoon into the mixture.

When it coats the spoon like this, you’re ready for your chocolate.



Whisk it in until smooth. Remarkably, its fairly instant. Remove from the heat and whisk in your vanilla.

And refrigerate, pressing the plastic wrap ON THE TOP of the pudding, not just over the bowl, but pressing it on the actual pudding. If you neglect to do this, you will get a skin on the pudding (unless you don’t mind this.) This pudding can be served in three days, but much longer if you get an idea and bust out your ice cream maker and make it look like this.

Sure, it will have a longer life like this…but that doesn’t mean its going to LAST longer. No. Not in this house.

Silky Chocolate Pudding
Adapted from John Scharffenberger
Ingredients
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used good quality semisweet chocolate chips; use 70% bittersweet if you want more of a dark chocolate kick)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method
1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you’re a slacker like me who is absolutely certain that there is nary a lump her puddin’) into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.

3. If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (ahem, good luck with that).

Happy Baking!
Clara

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