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How to make chocolate pudding from scratch

By Faith Durand
TheKitchn.com
GKK16EIJ4.5
- Faith Durand
Chocolate pudding from scratch.

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  • From-Scratch Chocolate Pudding

    4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

    3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

    3 tablespoons cornstarch

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 cup heavy cream

    3 large egg yolks

    1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk (not nonfat or 1 percent)

    1/2 cup sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    CHOP chocolate into fine flakes with a serrated knife. Set aside.

    WHISK together the cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until you have a smooth mixture. Whisk in the egg yolks.

    POUR the milk into a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan. Add the sugar and warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved.

    BRING to a light simmer over medium heat. Watch for the surface of the milk to vibrate and for bubbles to form around the edges of the pot.

    POUR most of the hot milk into the bowl of cream and egg yolks. Whisk until well-combined, then pour everything back into the pot.

    WARM the combined pudding mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a full boil. (It should look like lava boiling up.) At this point, the pudding will look much thicker. After the pudding starts boiling, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly and vigorously. Get your whisk into all corners of the pot.

    AFTER 2 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add the chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate is fully incorporated.

    SPREAD the pudding in a storage container and press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto the surface. Cover with a lid and chill. Best eaten within 3 days.

    NOTES: I don’t recommend using soy, almond or coconut milks in cornstarch puddings like this one. Alternative dairy products separate or don’t thicken the same. If you need a dairy-free pudding, try a panna cotta recipe. After pudding is thoroughly chilled, I like to whisk it or beat it before serving. It makes the pudding lighter and creamier.

    YIELD: 8 (1/2-cup) servings.



What would the world be without chocolate pudding? Chocolate and cream, licked off a spoon, is one of the greatest desserts I know, ranked with fresh strawberry shortcake and warm chocolate chip cookies.

Pudding, however, has become a lost art. Baking books proliferate, yet pudding only shows up in Snack Packs or on restaurant dessert plates. This is a secret opportunity for you as a cook, because when it comes to dessert, pudding is a snap to make. Knowing how to make pudding from scratch is like having the golden key to winning desserts.

I am biased, I confess – I wrote a whole book about pudding, custard and no-bake desserts, “Bakeless Sweets” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013), so I’ve spent some time with these sweets. Come into my kitchen and let me show you how to make rich, creamy chocolate pudding. It’s a forgotten classic that every sweet lover should know by heart.

Pudding may look homey and old-fashioned, but dress it up right and it’s a dessert that drives everyone wild. Homemade pudding, whipped and ever so slightly warm, makes people’s eyes go wide.

The other little pudding secret is that it’s naturally gluten-free. Like ice cream, as long as pudding is made with gluten-free ingredients, it’s a welcome treat for celiacs and gluten-intolerant folks. Pudding is basically ice cream for the refrigerator – rich, creamy and infinitely adaptable to your whims. But it won’t melt on the dessert buffet.

The process of making pudding – any pudding – is easy. Pudding is simply milk and cream, sweetened and then thickened by a brief bout of cooking on the stove or in the oven.

Unbaked puddings like this one get richness and thickness from a mixture of cornstarch and egg yolks. Chocolate pudding also gets an extra boost of thickness from the chocolate itself.

I use both cocoa and chocolate for a richer flavor. This isn’t a super-rich chocolate mousse, eaten by the thimbleful, but it’s rich enough for grown-ups and not too sweet. You can mellow it by omitting the cocoa or by using semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet. You can stir in instant espresso powder to go mocha, or dash in a slug of bourbon. As I said, it’s infinitely adaptable.

I know I’m a pushy pudding evangelist, but really, I just want everyone to have the sweet experience of setting homemade pudding on the table. It’s pure delight, and isn’t that part of what cooking is all about?

Faith Durand is executive editor of TheKitchn.com, a website for food and home cooking.
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