We call this a pudding but there’s no cornstarch to thicken it, no skin on top to poke through. No, this is just a rich crème Anglaise with lots of chocolate added, enough to thicken the mixture as it chills to a spoon-clinging custard that melts in your mouth like a truffle.
It’s a recipe from my friend Heather Miller, and it’s been seen and eaten at any restaurant where she has worked. I like to make it at home, for dinner parties, because it can be made well in advance.
You can top it with plain whipped cream, or cream infused with any number of flavors (coffee, hazelnut, orange, ginger, coconut, tea), or sweetened and spiked with booze. I particularly like it with Bourbon.
Since this is really all about the chocolate, be sure to use one you really like. Heather likes a mix of dark and milk chocolate, but you can adjust the ratio to your taste, keeping in mind that you may need more or less sugar.
Unlike most puddings, which are chilled in individual servings, this one is easier to divide up after it has thickened. Still, you can have it portioned and ready to serve hours or even a day or two in advance.
7 oz bittersweet chocolate (55-60% cocoa content)
1 oz milk chocolate
2 c heavy cream
5 egg yolks
5 T granulated sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 T unsalted butter
Chop the chocolates and put them in a heat proof bowl that will be big enough to accommodate the finished custard when the time comes. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, taking care that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the water. Heat the chocolate, stirring regularly, until completely melted and smooth, then remove it from the heat and set aside.
Place a fine-meshed strainer over a clean, 1-quart measuring cup or bowl and set aside. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream until steaming hot (try not to let it boil). In the meantime, put the yolks in a medium mixing bowl.
When the cream is ready, add the sugar to the yolks, whisking constantly for about 30 seconds. Then slowly add the hot cream to the yolks, whisking constantly until thoroughly combined. Return the egg mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof silicon spatula, until the mixture has thickened slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil. Once, thickened, immediately remove the cooked custard from the heat and pour through the fine-meshed strainer into the measuring cup or bowl.
Pour the custard into the melted chocolate, stirring gently and thoroughly until you have a smooth, uniform mix. Add the butter, vanilla, and salt, and stir until the butter is melted.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, scoop the pudding into cups or glasses and top with whipped cream.
Serves 4-6, depending on how you portion it