1. COMBINE sugar, water and cocoa in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cool slightly. Stir in vanilla.
2. MELT chocolate in a double boiler or a glass bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water.
3. ADD both mixtures plus tofu into a blender or food processor; purée until completely smooth.
4. DIVIDE the chocolate mixture among ramekins and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to overnight.
CHOCOLATE PUDDING HISTORY
Conquistadors brought “chocolatl” (the Aztec spelling, pronounced cho-co-LAH-tay) from Mexico to Spain in 1528. Originally a bitter drink mixed with cornmeal and spices, it was up to Spanish chefs to find different ways to make chocolate more palatable. For starters, they sweetened it.
About this heavily taxed import, one official of the time commented, “None but the rich and noble could afford to drink chocolatl as it was literally drinking money. Cocoa passed currency as money among all nations; thus a rabbit in Nicaragua sold for 10 cocoa nibs, and 100 of these seeds could buy a tolerably good slave.”
Over time, this costly ingredient was used to flavor custards and other puddings. Solid chocolate was not “invented” until 1847, in England (here’s the history of chocolate timeline).
“Pudding” means different things in different countries. There are two basic types:
The recipe is boiled then chilled, essentially a custard set with starch. This is the style commonly eaten in the U.S., Canada, Sweden, and East/Southeast Asia.
The recipe is steamed or baked into a texture similar to cake. This is the style in the British Commonwealth. If you order pudding of any kind in the U.K., Australia or New Zealand, expect cake instead of a creamy pudding.