Once the holidays finally crawled to a whimpering end, I felt compelled to embrace January 2011 as the month of healthy, mindful eating. The 12 days of Cherry Winks and gulps of Robert Mondavi Cabernet caught up with me, and while I deeply acknowledge the cliche of resolving to lose a few pounds come the New Year, I stayed true to my hopes of a slimmer silhouette. Unfortunately, my preoccupation with a limited caloric intake and regular exercise caused a brief dry spell with Scared of Cooking. Today’s Bears Vs. Packers game, however, brought out an unavoidable spread of tortilla chips and salsa, spinach artichoke dip, and white cheddar popcorn. It goes without say that my newly established eating plan quickly flew out the window this Sunday, and I couldn’t wait to work on a new artery-clogging, lip-smacking recipe for my next SOC post.
After scrolling through my favorite food blogs’ chocolate sections, I was torn between two chocolate-intensive desserts: chocolate pudding and chocolate mousse. Both delicious, yes, but glancing out the window to the icy sidewalks and 4 pm sunset after a disappointing Bears loss, the comfort of homemade pudding seemed like a winner.
Homemade pudding is a forgotten gem of a dessert. For years, chocolate pudding to me has been associated with the slimy light brown substance that was glopped onto my lunch plate in grade school by a lunch lady who never wore a hairnet. Thankfully I was able to put those chilling memories behind me.
The best part about this chocolate pudding recipe, originally from chef John Scharffenberger, is that the ingredients are simple, but rich. There’s no fuss with added butter, eggs, or cocoa powder, just a heaping of high-quality chocolate -and you can’t go wrong with that.
Adapted from The Wednesday Chef
Supposedly allows for 6 servings, but for the majority of chocolate lovers, it’s realistically about 4. Or 3.
While the recipe calls for a double broiler, I’ve never met anyone who actually owns one of these contraptions. A double broiler consists of two sections: a lower pot that typically holds simmering water, and a higher pot that contains the food to be cooked. Because the food in the higher pot isn’t on direct heat, the double broiler allows you to work with temperamental sauces (or melting chocolate, for instance) without burning them.
As I said, I don’t own a double broiler, but I sure can improvise one. I fill a medium sized pot with a couple inches of water and bring it to a simmer. To mimic the higher pot in the double broiler, I use a simple metal mixing bowl, filling it with whatever I wish to cook and resting the bowl on top of the simmering pot. Works like a charm.
Fill a medium-sized pot with a couple inches of water. Bring to a simmer.
Stir together corn starch, salt, and sugar in a medium-sized metal mixing bowl. Gently whisk in the milk. Once combined, run a rubber spatula on the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure that none of the dry ingredients have stuck.
Place metal mixing bowl on top of the pot of simmering water. Stir mixture occasionally with a rubber spatula, again running it along the bottom and sides of the bowl to prevent sticking. If any lumps start to form, whisk gently. In approximately 20 minutes, the mixture will thicken to a pudding-like consistency.
Add chocolate, stirring for another 3-4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thick. Take off heat and stir in vanilla.
For an easy serving method, spoon pudding into a measuring cup and then pour into individual serving dishes. Serve immediately if you enjoy warm pudding, but otherwise cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. May stay refrigerated for up to 3 days.