It's not really fair to call this pudding "simple" --I mean, it's not a fancy schmancy dessert but it's still rich, creamy and full of complex deep dark notes of chocolate, but seeing that it only takes minutes to prepare, I thought that Simple-But-Only-In-The-Preparation-Sense Chocolate Pudding just didn't have the same ring, so...Simple Chocolate Pudding it is and you simply must make this!! You'll love it!
To me, chocolate pudding is the ultimate comfort food and while the boxed kind is fine in a pinch (believe me, I grew up eating and enjoying it) this homemade version takes ordinary chocolate pudding to new heights and it's super easy to make. Definitely doable on a busy weeknight when you need some comfort!! And because this uses both cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, it's double satisfying in the chocolate department, so all of you chocoholics out there, take note!
You start by whisking together sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt together.
Then you add a bit of milk to make a paste, eventually whisking in more milk and a small amount of heavy cream.
You cook the pudding for a few minutes until it thickens and then add in a generous amount of chopped bittersweet chocolate, till what you have is a gloriously thick and rich chocolate-y mass!
Now you have a big decision to make. Do you eat it hot or cold? I'm more of a hot pudding fan, but I would not turn down my nose at the cold variety either and in the end we ate half of it hot and saved the rest for the next day. A perfect win-win situation. One might even call it simple, no?!
Simple Chocolate Pudding
Makes 4 generous servings--you could stretch this to 6 smaller servings but you might have some unhappy people
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus several hours of chilling time if you want to serve it cold)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch-processed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (don't use higher than 72% cacao)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream for topping (optional)
1. In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Add a few tablespoons of the milk and whisk until it forms a smooth paste. Then, whisk in the remaining milk and heavy cream.
2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken and bubbles begin to form at the edges. This should take about 5-6 minutes. Cook for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Then add the chopped chocolate and stir well for another 30 seconds or so, until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
3. Pour the pudding into individual ramekins, cups, bowls or one large bowl and either serve hot or cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface if you don't like a skin and refrigerate for several hours. Pudding will last up to three days. A dollop of homemade whipped cream on top, doesn't hurt either!!
Note: Recipe adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich.