When it comes to chocolate pudding there are two general schools of thought, the first being cornstarch, and the second being eggs. The first version, and arguably the most classic version, uses cornstarch as a thickener. It is generally made with few ingredients: cornstarch, milk, chocolate, some sugar. But it can be fussy to thicken. The second version, the ones with eggs, tends to be richer, more custard-like. But there is that harrying process of tempering the eggs and making sure you don’t scramble them.
And this is where Anne Thornton’s recipe intrigued me, and I, apparently being in the throes of cooking all things classic, decided to give it a try. She claims to have worked out a way to make chocolate pudding with the richness of eggs, in one pot, and without having to temper the eggs in. And really I think she succeeded. Instead of heating the pudding up and then adding the eggs, she has you add the eggs at the beginning so that they are completely incorporated as you gently cook the pudding. Which, if that works, how was it easier for someone to come up with tempering the eggs into the pudding, which is far more common?
Although the recipe calls for you to whisk the pudding together in a bowl and then pour it into a saucepan, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why you can’t just whisk it together in the same saucepan you plan on cooking it in, making this a one pot recipe. I also made a few flavor additions. I was hesitant at first that the only chocolate flavoring in this pudding comes from cocoa powder, so I added some chocolate chips in as well. I think it made the flavor richer, but honestly it was still delicious pre-chocolate chips. And I added vanilla. I sat there trying spoon after spoon of this pudding, trying to figure out what was missing, and the answer was vanilla. It almost always is when you’re baking.
And once all of that was done, this chocolate pudding was unbelievably rich. It was thick with such depth of flavor from the multiple chocolates and the vanilla. A little sweetened whipped cream acted as the perfect balance to the indulgence of the chocolate, toning it down a bit so that you don’t feel like you are going completely overboard. Although I really don’t see why that would be a problem.
adapted from Anne Thornton
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
3/4 cup sugar*
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)
1. In a medium sized bowl (or in the medium sized sauce pan you plan on cooking the pudding in), whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and flour until there are no lumps. Add the eggs and eggs yolks and whisk into a paste. Slowly add 1 cup of milk, whisking until it is fully incorporated. Then whisk in the remaining 1 cup of milk.
2. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken into a pudding.
3. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla extract and, if desired, the chocolate chips, allowing the residual heat to melt the chocolate.
4. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap, letting the plastic rest directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill the pudding in the refrigerator. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
*My only complaint about this recipe is that after it cooled it seemed a little gritty. Not that it took away from my enjoyment at all, just that I wonder if this could be improved by using powdered sugar or super fine sugar instead of regular sugar. But I am not making yet another batch of pudding this week, and besides, I still haven’t restocked my powdered sugar supply from our cookie adventure. So if you try a different sugar, I’d love to know how it works.