Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Who said you shouldn't make homemade puddin'

If you want an easy, but impressive, dessert, go with made from scratch chocolate pudding. Made from scratch anything has a wow factor associated with it, but facts are facts, made from scratch doesn't always translate well. See homemade cakes. Which brings me to wonder, why can't I make a cake from scratch and really love it? I dunno. I've tried. Goodness knows I've tried. Must be some chemical magic in the box mix that I can't recreate.

But, homemade chocolate pudding is another story. It tastes a million times better than store bought. Is made from only ingredients you can pronounce. And is so quick and so easy, but homemade, so you look like a culinary rock star. And who doesn't like looking like a culinary rock star?

I personally love it when my kids chant my name and declare I must open a restaurant that serves cheesy hotdogs, mac and cheese, and chocolate pudding. And yes, I know only one out of those three items are actually homemade by me. Still, I like it.

Scratch Chocolate Pudding
1/4 C cornstarch
1/3 C granulated sugar
skimpy 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
3 C whole milk
1 C good quality Semi-sweet chocolate chips. I prefer Guittard
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine cornstarch, sugar and salt into medium saucepan and stir to mix.

Pour milk into the above in a slow drizzle while whisking furiously, to avoid lumps.

Cook over medium low heat while alternating between whisking and scraping the bottom and sides of pot with a silicon spatula. You do not want to let this go too long without stirring, as the milk will potentially scorch to the bottom and not taste delicious.

Pay attention. After approximately 10 minutes, and just before your pudding comes to a simmer, the mixture will begin to thicken. Once it coats the back of a spoon and you can leave a trail with your finger, lick, it's thick enough. You really don't want this to go above a barely there simmer.

Now that it's perfectly thick, add the chocolate chips.

Whisk and spatula for about 2 minutes more to allow the chocolate chips to melt and incorporate.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. It'll look like your pudding is separating, but keep whisking and it'll all come together.

Press plastic wrap directly on the top of the pudding to avoid the dreaded skim and let cool. My Grandma would've spooned it into fancy bowls and let it cool on the kitchen counter, tempting us until dinner was through. I cooled mine in the fridge this time for about an hour. It was still slightly warm when we ate it.

Most important step: top with a drizzle of cream. Yup, pure cream and prepare for old fashioned, creamy, homey, chocolaty goodness in every spoonful. Add more cream as needed.

This really brought me back to my childhood; when I licked the bowls clean. Mostly to savor every last drop of the cream. We ate a lot of desserts with a drizzle of cream over the top. Not whipped cream. Weird but good. But, now I know why my mom got after me for licking the bowls clean. Same reason I got after my kids for doing it.

Aww, love the sharing of an old-timey, family tradition. And to be clear, the tradition I'm talking about is not the licking of bowls.

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