Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chocolate Orange Pudding

I'm not entirely sure why, but David looooooves pudding. Or mousse. Or custard. Or panna cotta. Or anything that is cold and smooth and you can slurp from a spoon. He loves pudding the way normal people love chocolate chip cookies or slices of cake. When I say, "I made pudding," there is a spark in his eye that is only ever repeated upon the purchase of a long-desired book or the kickoff of a long-anticipated football game.

"Really!?" True elation. Why don't I make it all the time? It's this easy to make him happy?

In fact, this very evening, as he spooned his dessert, he effused--and I quote--"This is one of the perfect desserts in the world, don't you think?" He didn't even know I was planning on making fun of him later on the blog! He just says that stuff naturally!
Well, anyway, here's a great little chocolate pudding recipe, perfect for two. I happen to really like dark chocolate and orange together, but if you're not an orange person, you can just omit the zest and the juice. Easy.

Chocolate Orange Pudding
serves 2; ready in 2 hours (including chill time)

1 1/2 oz dark chocolate
1 1/4 cup milk (any fat content will do)
1 Tbsp orange zest
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornstarch or flour
1 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp orange juice (or better yet, orange liquor of some kind)
  1. First, chop the chocolate and place it in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 20 second intervals until you can stir it smooth. (Alternately, melt over very low heat on the stovetop.) Set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine milk, zest, and sugar over medium heat, until scalded (that is, you just start to see tiny bubbles around the rim of the pan). Try not to boil. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, cornstarch, and cocoa. Mixture will be crumbly.
  3. When milk is ready, add it in very small increments to the yolk-cocoa mixture, whisking well in between each addition. When all the milk is incorporated, return to pan and heat again, over medium, stirring constantly, until thick--about 2 minutes. Scrape pudding into a bowl to stop cooking. Add melted chocolate, butter, vanilla, and orange juice and whisk until well mixed.
  4. To speed up the cooling process, place that bowl inside a larger bowl that you have filled with ice and a little water. Stir constantly for a few minutes until the pudding becomes cool. If you like, you can strain the pudding through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the orange zest and achieve a really smooth result.
  5. Divide between two serving dishes of your choice, cover in plastic, and cool for at least an hour.

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