Hello friends. Have you met homemade chocolate pudding? If not, let me introduce you. You can thank me later.
A far cry from the mysterious powders you can buy in a box, real chocolate pudding is made with cocoa, cornstarch, sugar and milk. It tastes infinitely better than the packaged stuff, and really doesn't take any more time. It is thick, creamy and deeply chocolatey - but happily, it isn't nearly as rich as it tastes.
To my lady readers out there (gentlemen, please avert your eyes) - I believe I have found the cure to PMS in the form of chocolate pudding. Yep, it's true. Weepiness? Cured. Cravings? No brainer. I swear it even knocks out cramps. And you know, there may even be some truth to that... isn't there something about calcium and PMS?... wait, I should know that... er...
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Which is chocolate. This particular recipe is my favourite recipe out of the dozens I have tried over the years. Yes, dozens. And no, I haven't been holding out on you purposely... It's just one of those things that you whip up at 8:30 at night... and it's really not very photogenic under artificial lights... and the next day when I open my fridge and discover chocolate pudding, I get so excited that I remember only after I eat it that I was supposed to take pictures...
That doesn't matter, because I am sharing it with you now. This version is only cocoa-based and is made with 1% or skim milk (as opposed to many recipes which include melted chocolate and use half-and-half or heavy cream). It does, however, have some egg yolks and a couple of tablespoons of butter to give it that incredible luscious texture and rich taste.
Making pudding is not difficult - the only thing to watch out for is making sure that you don't let it get too hot, causing the eggs to coagulate. However, even if this happens, you can just force it through a fine-mesh sieve. Also, if you are impatient (like me) and wish not to wait 3 or more hours for the pudding to chill, employ an ice bath - a medium bowl for your pudding placed inside a larger bowl filled with ice and water - enjoy cooled pudding with just a few minutes of stirring. Or eat it warm. It tastes like a hug.
Adapted from Everyday Food magazine
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water. Set a medium-sized bowl aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, off of heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder. Very gradually whisk in milk to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
3. Whisking constantly, cook over medium-high heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook until pudding is thick, one or two minutes more. Remove from heat and pour pudding into medium bowl. Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding, then place bowl into ice bath and stir continuously until pudding cools. If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a "skin" from forming.