Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trains, strain, and chocolate pudding.

One might think that when one begins going to school for baking and pastry there would indeed be a lot more time for...said baking. That had been my presumption, that was...until I started actually going. Perhaps if the commute was less harrowing, or the feelings of complete and utter exhaustion upon returning home confined to a day or so per week it would be a tad different. I could maybe find time to pop out a cake or cookie in between the rush...but fact remains that I don’t, and haven’t.
There is however, one small dessert that can typically be made in no time flat, that is delicious and beloved by all, and that in times of dire exhaustion and soul crushing depression that follow late nights on the train and the ache of having to finally send your childhood pet across that Rainbow bridge(by the way, does anybody know where the fuck that saying came from?) can lift the spirits and make the world right again.
  That little thing, is chocolate pudding. Devastatingly under appreciated in our adult years, forgotten to the small snack packs that lay in our lunch boxes or came at the end of a particularly good school lunch. Can be revamped, and beloved again. In an entirely grown up sort of fashion. I don’t remember what magazine I tore the recipe from, I think it may have been Food Network, but it has been committed to memory since. This is quintessential, easy to make, and sure to impress at any pot luck. 

Dark Chocolate Pudding with Spiced Whipped Cream

5 oz. 50%-62% dark chocolate (Only real honest to god chocolate, melting chocolate, chocolate chips will not work..they have weird stabilizers added to them.)
3 cups of milk (whole or 2% is fine)
1/2 to 1 full  teaspoon of salt (the amount depends on your tastes really, you can always add more in the final stage)
1.5 tablespoons of vanilla puree
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract (optional)
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
Half cup of sugar.

A medium sauce pan.
A retaining vessel.

And Away We Go...

Chop up the chocolate and add it to the milk with the salt in the sauce pan and put it over medium heat, while this is melting down pull out a bowl and whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Then incorporate the egg yolks so it becomes one big yellow blob. Set it aside and pay attention to the milk.

Stir occasionally until the chocolate has entirely melted into the milk and it’s at a hot cocoa kind of temperature. Then add a little bit to the egg mixture so it loosens up and the eggs get tempered, continue this little bit at a time process until about half of the milk is incorporated and the lumps and sugar have dissolved. By this time you should be able to add the rest, whisk it all together and then return to the sauce pan.

Over low to medium heat simmer the pudding stirring constantly until it’s thick and ribbony, this is the time to add your extracts and any additional salt if necessary. When it reaches a loose custardy consistency pour into your waiting vehicles of choice. I tend to make this in multiple batches and so use a low metal cake pan to help it cool faster and to incorporate other batches. But one batch will fill about 8 of those little pot de creme cups.

Put in the refrigerator to chill. Top with homemade whipped cream that you’ve spiced with a tablespoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

An important note: When making more than one batch, do NOT double up the recipe and cook twice as much at one time. it takes FOREVER to thicken up on the stove top and then you’re stuck there stirring and panicking for a full half hour or so. Just make each batch individually and add it to one big vessel. When they are all combined, whisk the whole bunch together for consistency. Let cool on the counter for a bit, and then chill. 



  1. i'm sorry to hear about the stressful commute :( but i do wanna know: what's culinary school like? what do you guys do?

  2. It's cool. Most of our recipes are organized around exploring basic baking/science type applications. So we do a shit ton of stuff to explore the aspects of egg whites, or to explore the different stages of sugar.