I used to love those 60 calorie sugar free chocolate pudding snacks. I say “used to” because when I was pregnant and then nursing I avoided a lot of sugar substitutes, and when I bought a pack recently I was surprised at how eh I found them to be. In trying to go the “whole foods” route in general, the ingredients list on those babies is reason enough to say a permanent bye-bye.
Now the ingredients list for THIS chocolate pudding is most definitely recognizable but obviously portion control should be practiced. It’s rich, creamy, and the chocolate flavor really hits you in the face – would it be strange to say it was robust? It sounds like I’m talking about wine (I get such a kick out of the descriptors that wine connoisseurs throw out there).
Most pudding recipes call for you to temper eggs which can be annoying if you’re new to tempering – nobody likes bits of scrambled egg in their chocolate pudding. In this case, all you need is a whisk and about 15 minutes. Is it that much better than the “just add milk” box? Um. Yes. Yes. Truly.
Lastly, a word on whipped cream. Just whip the blessed cream yourself! 1) Buy heavy whipping cream. 2) Place about 2 tbsp. sugar in the bottom of a mixing bowl. 3) Add 1/2 c. cream (if making 1 c. cream, start with 1/4 c. sugar). 4)Whip with electric mixer on medium high speed until slightly thickened. 5) Add 1 tsp. vanilla. 6) Continue whipping on low speed until thick and fluffy. If it starts looking chunky you’ve gone too far (it will eventually turn into butter). To remedy that situation, fold in 1 tbsp. of heavy cream at a time until it becomes creamy again. IT’S SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE CANNED STUFF. Now, will I occasionally fill my mouth with cream directly from the can? Yes, but that’s really neither here nor there.
Creamy Chocolate Pudding
Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 c. sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. reduced fat milk (2%)
1 1/2 c. whole milk
5 tbsp. butter, chopped
3/4 c. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chips)
1. Stir vanilla and espresso powder in a small bowl – set aside.
2. Whisk sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt together in a large saucepan.
3. Whisk in egg yolks and cream until fully incorporated, making sure to scrape the corners of the saucepan.
4. Whisk in milk until incorporated.
5. Place saucepan over medium heat; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbling over entire surface, 5-8 minutes.
6. Cook 30 seconds longer, remove from heat, add butter and chocolate; whisk until melted and fully incorporated.
7. Whisk in vanilla mixture.
8. Pour pudding through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Press a piece of lightly greased parchment paper against surface of pudding and place in fridge to cool, at least 4 hours.
9. Give pudding a quick whisk and then portion into bowls. Definitely top this with some whipped cream – preferably homemade! Do it!