Thick & Rich Chocolate Pudding

We are guilty as charged: “TheshoeboxKitchen doesn’t do enough chocolate!”

Well, we hope that the velvety chocolaty richness left in your mouth after trying this pudding will be enough to post our bail until we can backfill the chocolate deficiency in our recipe archives with some of your own suggestions.

Okay, on to the pudding!  What is a pudding, anyway?  How is it different from a custard?  What differentiates a pudding from a mousse?  If you’re asking similar questions, then we’re right there with you.  So many pudding recipes call for cornstarch as a thickening agent, other recipes look more like a custard, relying on the proteins in egg yolks to cause the pudding to set.  Still others use both egg yolks and cornstarch.  And then there’s mousse – let’s not even go there right now.

We were going for a rich pudding, so we knew we wanted to use egg yolks.  But some recipes we found that depended solely on egg proteins to thicken the pudding were accompanied by comments suggesting that the pudding ended up runny or that folks had difficulty getting it to set.  So we decided to throw in some corn starch as well, just to be safe.

What we ended up with is some combination of a David Lebovitz custard-based chocolate ice cream recipe and a Food52 finalist’s pudding recipe.

Thick and Rich Chocolate Pudding

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (less if you don’t want it as thick)
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds into a bowl with the sugar.  “Chop” up the seeds so they are as distributed as possible (not clumped together) throughout the sugar.

Measure out the cocoa powder as well.

And go ahead and set aside your 5 ounces of chocolate.  We used chips because they melt efficiently.  If you buy bars of chocolate, cut them up into small pieces.

Now pour into a medium saucepan the heavy cream and half & half (or milk, if you’d like a lighter pudding).  Add to this liquid the vanilla seed & sugar mixture as well as the cocoa powder.  Throw the vanilla bean husk in there too, just for good measure.  Whisk everything together and then warm over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally.

While the cream mixture is heating on the stove, whisk together the egg yolks until they are pale yellow, then add the corn starch and whisk until the yolks and starch are well-combined.

When the cream mixture starts to steam slightly and form little bubbles (about 175 degrees), remove it from the heat and remove a ladle-full of the warm liquid.  Slowly pour the warm liquid from the ladle into the egg yolks, whisking the yolks continuously.  Then, transfer the now-warmed egg yolk mixture back into the original saucepan, whisking the contents of the saucepan continuously.  Continue to whisk the custard mixture (yes, this is essentially a custard with cornstarch added) until the mixture reaches about 180 degrees.  Do not let the mixture boil or you’ll have scrambled egg pudding.

When your mixture hits 180 degrees, remove it from the heat and pour it through a strainer into a separate bowl.  Now dump in the chocolate and continue to whisk until all of the chocolate is melted, leaving you with smooth, velvety perfection.

Now, if you want to get fancy,  dump that velvety perfection into your food processor and process for about a minute.  This tip comes from Dorrie Greenspan, and results in a silkier, slightly airier pudding (i.e., more perfect than before).  We thought this step made the texture a bit closer to mousse (not as airy as mousse, but silky like mousse), which we were very happy to discover.

Pour the pudding directly from the food processor into small bowls or ramekins.  Be timid with the portions – this stuff is rich!

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of pudding skin, immediately place plastic wrap over and on the surface of the pudding.  Let the pudding cool in the fridge for at least three hours, or overnight. (Editor’s note: We’ve actually found that we prefer this pudding just slightly chilled; so, if you have refrigerated it, take it out and let it sit on the counter for at least half an hour before digging in – if you can wait!)

This pudding is very smooth and stick-to-a-spoon thick.  It is rich, but not too sweet, has just the right amount of chocolate flavor, and the vanilla undertones from the fresh vanilla seeds add an extra layer of depth.  If you love chocolate, well, this one is a no-brainer.

What other chocolate dessert should we try?  Before you close this window, add a comment below and tell us what we should make next!

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18 Responses to Thick & Rich Chocolate Pudding

  1. Millie says:

    Next you should make another batch of pudding and head over the the Wamsteds’…

  2. Oh my, this pudding pudding indeed looks rich and smooth!
    Cheers:)
    Judit & Corina

  3. Kankana says:

    looks so moist and creamy .. lovely !

  4. D-Al says:

    Looks awesome!! Since you are on spring break I think you should deliver!! Here’s the recipe for the cookies I was trying to tell you about. Maybe my favorite chocolate cookie yet: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2011/03/fudgy_meringue_cookies

  5. cookthestory says:

    A plump vanilla bean used in a rich chocolate pudding? I’m sold! This pudding looks and sounds totally gorgeous. I love the pictures: such a chocolate mess of prettiness.

  6. I looove chocolate pudding! Now u remind me I havent made any since ages! Yum!

  7. Evan @swEEts says:

    I could eat chocolate pudding by the tub full.. I love the idea of making my own- I’m going to have to make this soon!

  8. There is nothing better than homemade chocolate pudding, and I’m sure as a David Lebovitz/Food 52 combo, this one is amazing.

  9. Ustabahippie says:

    This pudding looks so good. I have been using the recipe I found on the box of cornstarch 100 years ago to make chocolate pudding. It just uses the cornstarch, milk, cocoa powder, sugar, a pinch of salt, and a spoonful of vanilla. Really good, not so rich, and comes out nice and thick without the hard work of using eggs. But you go on with that fabulous pudding! I’m just too lazy and scared to end up with chocolate scrambled eggs!

  10. Chocolate Pudding is one of my favorites!!! You make it seem so easy!!! I want to make this right now! :D

    xoxo
    Kathleen

  11. Mmm, I just want to dive into a bowlful of that. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I’d like to invite you to stop by and link your pudding up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/03/sweets-for-saturday-8.html

  12. rsmacaalay says:

    This looks really delicious!

  13. Sasha says:

    This looks rich and fabulous. Wait..gimme a sec to wipe the drool off my keyboard…

    Okay.

    I think you should make brownies next. They’re irresistible and I’m always on the lookout for new recipes : )

  14. Looking lovely, this is torture if you are hungry with no food in the fridge.

  15. Pingback: Thick & Rich Chocolate Pudding Recipe « The Cooking Channel

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