Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chocolate. Pudding.

Let's get one thing out in the open before we start: I love, nay, ADORE chocolate pudding.

Chocolate pudding and I have a bit of a history, and I feel close enough to you to share it with you. It's kind of extensive.

I was home schooled in 4th and 5th grade. It was a great time- our curriculum was The Prairie Primer, based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie series. Projects included: making molasses candy hardened on snow, blowing up a hogs' bladder and playing soccer with it and making "hasty pudding" with cornmeal.

Anyway, I remember that most days for lunch, I'd find a box of instant pudding in the cabinet, add milk, and eat the ENTIRE THING for lunch. This was the start of what I consider to be a chubby phase. Who knows who kept buying the pudding to feed my addiction (Mom!)

Instant pudding make occasional appearances in my life through middle school and high school, until college, when I discovered Cook n Serv pudding. I thought "What have I been doing with this instant pudding stuff? It can't touch cook n serv." My obsession with Cook n Serv Chocolate Pudding almost matched the obsession with Rice Pudding, just ask my roommates.

I was in a poetry class at the time, and I even wrote a poem about pudding. It ended up being inadvertently sensual (which my professor loved), and if you don't mind indulging me, here it is:

Childish, I know, but I truly believed in Instant.

Immediate gratification was my mantra.

How foolish I felt, after years of haughtily wondering

Why anyone would spend the time or wait

When I finally found for myself what some already knew:

Agitated chocolate, glutinous with living,

Palpable fragrance escaping every pore

With every bubble burst it thickens sweetly

And deepens in the swampy layer beneath.

Oh so smooth into perfect containers!

Picked for shallow depth that makes the skin silky.

Hot and luxurious, coating its escape with

Sugar and fat molecules like cocoa butter on the body

Rake the bottom and harvest every speck

Forming dark trenches and furrows of residue

Let it flow so gentle and tender like

The warm wet mouth of a lover.

All this brings me to say, HOW have I not made chocolate pudding from scratch before? It's so easy and sooo delicious and incredibly satisfying...and dangerous- because when I made the recipe, I ate it all. Then I made it again two days later. And ate it all. Flash back to elementary school? I hope not.

coats the back of a spoon

This recipe was found on Smitten Kitchen, and as she says, is incredibly easy and doesn't require things like egg yolks or special equipment.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 t salt
3 cups whole milk (i did a combo of 2 percent milk and cream...did anyone else not know that cream has 44 grams of fat per cup? This is opposed to 8 grams in whole milk. Yikes.)
6 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped. (or chips.) (Feeling decedent, I used the last of my expensive Valrhona chocolate.)
1 t vanilla extract

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a saucepan (or a double boiler). Whisk in the milk, making sure to get all the dry ingredients. Place the pot over low heat and stir often until the mixture starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the chocolate, and keep stirring for a few minutes more, until it is completely melted and incorporated. Now you have pudding!

Remove the pudding from heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps that may be lurking in your pudding. This is optional, but probably a good idea if you skip the double boiler and cook it straight on the stove. Pour the pudding into dishes. When cool, cover and put into the fridge. Or eat it hot, whatever you like.

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