Sunday, November 25, 2007

My delicious oops

Sometimes all I want is something creamy and chocolaty. Ice cream usually hits the spot, but tonight, armed with my brand new chocolate cookbook, The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg, I made chocolate pudding. Well sort of. I tried to make chocolate pudding.

Blame it on my eagerness. Blame it on pure impatience. Blame it on my need for semi instant gratification. I just couldn't wait any longer to add the chocolate to the milk and cornstarch mixture. In my defense, the recipe does say it should coat the spoon in about 15 to 20 minutes and I waited about 35. But I also don't own a double boiler and was working with a glass bowl on top a saucepan.

My resulting creation just hasn't firmed up. It's a lot thicker than chocolate milk, but there's really no need for a spoon. It may be more soup than pudding, but oh my goodness is it delicious. And, oh joy! The love of my life doesn't like chocolate! (that and he has a small problem with milk). So my mistake is mine to savor. I'm sure if I had waited for the cornstarch and milk mixture to thicken the pudding would be even more delicious, but for now I'm happy and I'll try again some other time I'm craving something smooth and chocolaty.

Silky Chocolate Pudding
The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate coarsely chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

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 vanilla.

Strain through fine-mesh strainer into a serving bowl or strain the pudding into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.

Some find the layer of "skin" that forms on the top of pudding after refrigerating to be the best part, while others can't bear the though of it. If you're the type who dislikes a pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface; the wrap will keep a skin from forming. But if you want that dense, chewy layer to form, just pull plastic wrap tightly over the top of the serving dish(es) and don't allow it to touch the pudding.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

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