From-scratch chocolate pudding. Photo by
June 26th is National Chocolate Pudding Day. If you don’t already make chocolate pudding from scratch, it’s the day to discover this intense, creamy chocolate delight.
Sure, instant pudding is tasty. But imagine how much better it is made from scratch, with quality chocolate.
Here‘s the recipe our Nana lovingly made for us, every week. We’d try to get there twice a week, we loved it so much. (It wasn’t just the pudding; we loved Nana, too.)
We got to scrape the pot and eat the hot pudding remnants from a spatula: It is equally delicious hot/warm or chilled.
Remember: The better the chocolate. the better the pudding. Look for 100% cacao (i.e., unsweetened) chocolate in stores that sell gourmet chocolate.
You can substitute higher-cacao sweetened chocolate (75% or higher) and cut out a teaspoon or two of the sugar in the recipe.
NANA’S CHOCOLATE PUDDING-FROM-SCRATCH RECIPE
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1. SCALD 2 cups milk with chocolate in the top of a double boiler or a glass bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the top pan or glass bowl). Beat until smooth.
2. COMBINE cornstarch, sugar and salt. Stir in cold milk. Add to scalded milk and cook 15 minutes in double boiler. Stir constantly until mixture thickens; then stir occasionally.
3. COOL slightly and add vanilla. Fold in optional heavy cream.
4. SERVE warm or chilled.
DAIRY-FREE CHOCOLATE PUDDING
If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, you can still enjoy a delicious chocolate pudding—dairy free! This budino, the Italian word for pudding, was created by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show, Extra Virgin. They used House Foods’ premium soft (silken) tofu.
TOFU CHOCOLATE BUDINO
Ingredients For 4 Servings
Dairy-free chocolate pudding. Photo courtesy House Foods.
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: