American-Style Chocolate Pudding

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There are as many variations of this traditional pudding recipe as there are days in the year, and this one I think is one of the best. When I’m in France, I swoon over crème brûlée, and when I’m in America you’ll find me doing the same over thick, rich, gorgeously satisfying, cooked chocolate pudding. Not that powdered instant stuff – ick. That glue-some stuff is a curse upon your favourite wooden spoon.

Some people serve this with a scant layer of milk or cream poured over the surface just before serving. I’m one of those people. My husband’s not – the idea makes him wince and wave his hands in horrified retreat. Some people top their pudding with fresh sliced strawberries. Others a dollop of whipped cream. As with most things American, anything goes.

American-Style Chocolate Pudding (with Sugar)

6 oz (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate broken into small pieces
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cocoa powder (the type for baking, not sweetened)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cornstarch (corn flour)
2/3 cup (160 ml) sugar
A pinch of salt *
1 cup (250 ml) single cream
3 egg yolks beaten
2 teaspoon (10 ml) vanilla extract
2 cups (480-500 ml) full-fat milk (start with 480ml, and add more if needed)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter

Melt the solid chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie (a bowl set over (not touching) hot water). Sift together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, sugar, and salt into a large heavy-based saucepan. Slowly whisk in the cream, egg yolks, milk, and melted chocolate. If the chocolate lumps, don’t worry – they’ll disappear while cooking.

Stirring nonstop with a whisk, slowly bring to a simmer over moderate heat, and then reduce the heat to low and cook until the pudding thickly coats the back of a spoon. It must be quite thick.

Strain the pudding into a bowl, pressing with a spoon. Toss away any lumps or ‘skin’ left in the strainer. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Taste for sweetness, and adjust if needed. Divide between 4-6 cups or small bowls, and serve either warm or chilled.

And here’s one for the person watching their sugar, fat and/or caloric intake, like my husband who’s diabetic. I used to make the sugar version; now I make this one. I’ll be honest with you: the sugary version is better and smoother.
 I use Splenda® but any similar granular sweetener will do just as well. Just be sure to taste for sweetness before cooling the pudding in the fridge. Once it’s cooled, adding sweetener is very difficult.

Sugar-Free/Low-Fat American-style Chocolate Pudding

2 tablespoons cornstarch/corn flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon powder skim milk
1 pinch of salt*
2-1/2 teaspoons Splenda® or similar no calorie sweetener (not liquid)
1-1/2 cups skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons butter

Mix together well cornstarch, cocoa powder, skim milk powder and Splenda® in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. Combine milk, beaten egg, and vanilla in a small sauce pot, then whisk in cocoa powder mixture until well blended. Add butter.

Heat on low heat until thickened, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Take care to continue stirring as chocolate and milk will catch at the bottom of the pan. Do not allow milk mixture to boil. Simmer is okay, but not boiling. Remove from heat. Taste, and add more sweetener if needed. Pour pudding through a strainer, pushing with a spoon, and discard any lumps or ‘skin’ left behind. Spoon into individual cups or bowls, and place cling film over pudding to prevent ‘skin’ from forming. Refrigerate until cool, about 30-40 minutes.

Serves: 2-3

* a pinch of salt is usually less than 1/8 teaspoon.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Joanna says:

    Is there a yoghurt version of these? Or a creme fraiche one? We can’t have puds with regular milk/cream. Tricky or do you think it might be possible… choc pudding guru’s advice needed….

  2. Misk Cooks says:

    Oh gosh, Joanna. I don’t know. Let me think about this. The sugar-free version uses cocoa powder, so maybe converting as many ingredients as possible to dry so that yogurt (and maybe water to achieve the right consistency) can be used. Can B tolerate powdered skim milk?

  3. Joanna says:

    We’re better with fermented anything if it’s dairy. He won’t die, just starts wheezing….

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Just tried making it with yogurt, and it doesn’t work because you can’t heat the yogurt for the corn flour to thicken the mixture.

      This is the basic dry pudding mix for thickening and flavouring approx 1 litre milk/cream. You could play with that and see what happens if you want. 😦

      85g Dutch-processed cocoa (approx 1 cup)
      57g cornstarch (approx 1/2 cup)
      170g confectioners’ (powdered) sugar (approx 1 1/2 cups)
      42g instant non-fat dry milk powder (approx 1/2 cup)
      1 teaspoon salt

  4. Joanna says:

    I of course would jump into a bathful of your full fat/full sugar version with great happiness 😀

  5. Misk Cooks says:

    Could he tolerate highly diluted crème fraîche so it’s the consistency of half milk-half cream? Problem is that American pudding really is a diary-based food.

    Maybe we can persuade Doc to help us?

  6. drfugawe says:

    OK for you guys – since my American instant pudding isn’t good enough, how about this one, with minor adaptions: http://cookingmaniac.blogspot.com/2011/04/yogurt-pudding-with-warm-berry-sauce.html

    This will make a panna cotta type pudding, and I’d bet that the whipping cream can be subbed with the same amount of additional yogurt. Or using one of those sugar free whipped toppings (have you got those over there?).

    This looks interesting – I’m going to try it. I’ll yet you know how it turns out.

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Funny thing, Doc, I’ve never seen an equivalent product to Cool Whip in the UK. Not even the dry stuff that you make with added milk. What’s the name of that stuff: Dream Whip?

      I suspect that the heavy cream/double cream won’t work for Joanna’s needs.

      I will certainly be interested in hearing how this turns out for you though. Will you use heavy cream in it?

      1. drfugawe says:

        Well, OK – I did immediately make a version – I did one with all yogurt, no cream – but I messed up the gelatin part, in that I added the dry gelatin (we have powder, not sheets) to warm water, and it didn’t dissolve well – I don’t have much experience with that stuff. So, of course, the stuff didn’t set up properly, and I also tried to eat it w/o the fruit sauce – not sweet enough for that. So, I’ll try again.

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