Monday, July 23, 2012

Chocolate Espresso Pudding

I've been making a lot of ice cream lately - I mean, it's been blazingly hot here - but pudding is just as good for a cool dessert. And pudding can be even more chocolate-y than chocolate ice cream. This one is has a lot of chocolate flavor, with espresso making an appearance as well.

Pudding is easy to make, too. There's a little bit of cooking, but it's not that tough. And there's something magical about throwing a bunch of common ingredients into a pan and ending up with a thick, rich dessert.

Speaking or rich, this one pushes the boundaries of sanity. Most puddings include milk. This one has both milk and heavy cream. It's rich. But rich doesn't necessarily mean sweet. This pudding isn't crazy sweet.

If you want to cut the richness, you can layer this with yogurt to make a parfait. If you want to lighten it up a bit, layer it with fluffy whipped cream.

This pudding is made with Green and Black's chocolate. A while back the company send me a variety of their chocolates to sample. I was planning on creating recipes with them, but the mint chocolate ... uh .. disappeared. Things like that happen, right?

But that's okay, that left me with plenty of flavors, including 2 different dark chocolate, the disappearing mint, expresso, ginger, and Maya Gold that includes orange and spices. For this recipe, I used the 85% dark chocolate and the espresso. It's interesting how much of that coffee flavor came through in the pudding.

When I've made puddings before, I usually start with 1 quart of milk - it's an easy, logical measurement. But then I end up with more pudding than will fit in a standard 4-cup (1 quart) storage container. That bugs me. This recipe fits perfectly into a 1-quart container when it's done.

Chocolate Espresso Pudding

1 3.5-ounce bar Green & Black's 85% dark chocolate
1 3.5-ounce bar Green & Black's Espresso dark chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Break the chocolate into pieces and put it in medium bowl.

Put the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the milk and cream slowly and whisk to combine well. Add the egg yolks and whisk to break up the yolks and combine everything.

Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens - right about the point where it just begins to come to a boil.

Pour the cooked mixture through a fine strainer into the bowl with the chocolate. In theory, you don't have to strain, but this will catch any small bits of egg that might have overcooked and scrambled. I find that you'll have fewer bits if you do a good job of just putting yolk in the pudding - the more bits of white that snuck in, the more bits you'll end up with in the strainer.

Add the vanilla extract and stir or whisk until the chocolate melts and you have an even-colored mixture. Transfer the mixture to a storage container, cover, and refrigerate until fully chilled. This pudding sets up pretty thick, so stir or whisk it before serving to loosen it up just a bit.

If you want something with less body, whip some cream and fold it into the pudding.

Serve cold.

I received chocolate from Green & Black's at no cost, but I was not required to write about them.