If it’s Valentine’s, there must be chocolate

Published 12:03 am Saturday, February 13, 2016

Yes, Valentine’s Day is Sunday and what to cook or where to eat? I always suggest to stay home and enjoy a simple homey, lovely meal together.

Homemade chocolate pudding could be the perfect dessert for a home-cooked Valentine’s Day meal.  Connie Anderson

Homemade chocolate pudding could be the perfect dessert for a home-cooked Valentine’s Day meal.
Connie Anderson

I was thinking of chocolate for dessert and came across an article on chocolate pudding. This would be perfect! As children we all remember the instant pudding that took a few minutes to make. This was good as I remember, but I found a recipe that is almost as quick and far more enjoyable.

There are a few things you need to know before making this pudding. First, choose your cocoa, either natural cocoa or less acidic Dutch-process cocoa. Dutch-process cocoa (used in the pudding here) produces a darker chocolate flavor, while natural cocoa gives the pudding a milk chocolate flavor. Secondly, sift out lumps. For the smoothest pudding, sift the cornstarch, cocoa, and salt before adding the cream, and mix really well to eliminate any lumps. Thirdly, use a heavy-duty saucepan so the milk will heat evenly and a whisk long enough to keep your hands clear of the steaming custard. Fourthly, temper the eggs. The yolks must be heated gently so they don’t scramble. Fifthly, cook out the cornstarch. Cornstarch must be boiled thoroughly for it to thicken properly; if your pudding becomes watery after chilling, it is a sign that the cornstarch was not cooked enough.

Some people like pudding skin but that is really not good because it is usually rubbery. To prevent this, press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the pudding before letting it cool. Before serving, whisk the pudding vigorously by hand or whip a few seconds with a hand mixer.

From February/March 2015 “Fine Cooking Magazine”

Silky Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4

1 ½ oz. (6 Tbs.) cocoa powder (Dutch process or natural)

1 oz. (3Tbs.) cornstarch

¼ tsp. table salt

2 large egg yolks

2 cups whole milk

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Sift the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt into a medium bowl. With a silicone spatula or whisk, slowly mix in the cream, eliminating any visible lumps as you go; the mixture will be quite thick. Mix in the egg yolks until combined. Set aside.

Heat the milk and sugar in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, until the sugar dissolves. When bubbles form around the edge of the milk, remove the pan from the heat, Whisk about half of the hot milk mixture into the cocoa mixture. When smooth, whisk it into the milk remaining in the saucepan.

Bring the pudding to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking slowly and scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching. The pudding will begin to thicken as it approaches a full boil. Watch for large, lava-like bubbles to roll up to the surface, and for small fat bubbles on the edges. When the pudding has reached this stage, turn the heat down to medium and whisk vigorously for two minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla. Transfer the pudding to a shallow container (such as an 8-inch baking dish) and spread it evenly, then press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Whisk vigorously to loosen the pudding before serving.



Plain chocolate pudding is only the beginning. Try one of these mix-ins.

Mocha pudding:

Add 2 tsp. instant expresso powder when you add the vanilla.

Boozy chocolate pudding:

Instead of the vanilla, stir in 2 Tbs. of your favorite spirit, such as bourbon, brandy, or Scotch.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day!