You know what they say: third time’s a charm!
I had such high hopes for two new dessert recipes that I was trying for the first time this week. Both were for cookies, and both sounded so good (in theory.) Plus, they were from one of my favorite cookbooks (which shall not be named; no need to defame it — I still maintain it’s one of my favorites!) How could they be bad, right?
Unfortunately, they could and they were. Sadly, they didn’t taste as great in reality as I had imagined them in my mind…and the thing is, I just can’t bring myself to post a recipe that I wouldn’t happily devour myself. What’s a girl to do?
And then it occurred to me that I haven’t yet posted one of our all-time favorite, never-fail, pull it out in a pinch desserts: double-chocolate pudding! So, luckily for me and my dessert experiments, the third time was the charm.
This pudding is smooth, deeply chocolate-y, equally good dressed up with some freshly whipped cream and chocolate shavings and/or berries, or eaten as-is, plain-jane, right out of the cup. It comes together quickly enough that you could decide to make it right before cooking dinner and it would be ready for dessert. And who would turn down a cup of super chocolate-y, creamy homemade pudding?
I’ve posted the basic recipe I use below, but I usually play around with different variations: sometimes I substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla to make mint chocolate pudding. I’ve stirred a little instant espresso powder into the milk for a mocha pudding. One time I spooned some dulce de leche into the bottom of the cups and poured the pudding over, so each pudding had a surprise layer of butterscotchy dulce de leche on the bottom.
Best of all, this pudding recipe is rock-solid reliable: I’ve tried all manners of methods for making pudding, from egg-based custards to recipes that call for blending the pudding in a food processor. This one is made all in one pot on the stovetop, no egg-cooking required, and it comes together in about 10 minutes. All you have to do is chill it before serving…and if you’re desperate for some chocolate pudding stat, you can even blast it in the freezer to speed up the chilling.
I actually make this so much that I’ve been thinking about keeping the dry ingredients all mixed together in a container, ready to add milk — kind of my own instant pudding mix (but eons better than the kind from a box!)
Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 1996
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
2 tbsp sugar (note: the original recipe had 1/3 cup, but I found that a bit too much for my taste)
2 tbsp good-quality cocoa powder
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 cup milk (I’ve made the recipe with all kinds – whole, 2%, skim – all work just fine.)
1 ounce chopped chocolate (I like dark, but use whatever you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch. Whisk in the milk. Heat over medium heat, whisking continually, until the milk comes to a simmer (don’t let it come to a hard boil.) Once it comes to a simmer and is gently bubbling, keep whisking it for 1 minute longer. The pudding should be quite thick at this point.
Take it off the heat and whisk in the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract. Divide among two cups and cover with plastic wrap before placing in the fridge to chill (if you don’t like skin on your pudding, place the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding.)