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Oh, Oh Chocolate Pudding

by Pam Williams

I don't know about you, put it seems that we can't escape the chocolate pudding craze in fast snack foods. Touted for desserts, lunchtime snacks or as fat-free treats. These little tubs of preprocessed pudding seem to be everywhere.

I decided that maybe its time to revisit the lowly chocolate pudding to see if fresh is really better. Some would say that pudding is just another word for a chocolate mousse made with custard. In most recipes that I researched, pudding recipes contain the addition of a slight bit of flour and a ratio of more eggs to chocolate. The higher egg to chocolate ratio seems to give the pudding "body" and heaviness that distinguish it from a mousse.

The following recipe is very basic but don't let that fool you. If you use great chocolate the result will bear little resemblance any pudding you've tasted before. Instead of the usual custard cup, I cook the chocolate pudding in a wider mouthed bowl. Then I serve with a pool of vanilla creme anglaise poured onto the center.

My Favorite Homemade Pudding
Serves 6

8 oz very good quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 recipe Creme Anglaise (to follow)

Pre-heat oven to 350º F.

Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat until melted. Beat in the sugar until well incorporated and sugar granules have disappeared. Remove pan from the heat.

Beat eggs with the flour until light and fluffy. Then beat egg mixture into chocolate mixture until well combined. Pour mixture into 6 individual oven-proof bowls. Set the bowls in a pan filled with 1/2-inch water. This is called a bain-marie and allows the puddings to cook slower as they are immersed in water. Carefully place the puddings in the pre-heated oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove puddings from the oven, let come to room temperature then refrigerate overnight. Serve with a pool of Creme Anglaise on the top.

Creme Anglaise
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups sauce

3 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Scald the milk in a pan and set aside. Place eggs and sugar in the top of a double boiler. Turn heat under double boiler to low. As water in the lower pan heats, whisk the eggs and sugar until they thicken and drizzle in ribbons off the whisk. Slowly add the scalded milk stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula. Raise the heat to simmer and continue stirring until mixture thickens and coats the spoon. Make sure not to let the mixture boil or it will curdle. This takes a few minutes - so be patient.

When the custard is thickened, remove from the heat and continue stirring until it cools. Add vanilla. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate to store.

Pam Williams is founder and lead instructor of Ecole Chocolat Professional Chocolatier School of Chocolate Arts.

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