My dear friend Brian from A Thought For Food is sharing some chocolate love with us today. A Thought for Food is one of the earliest blog I fell in love with when I started blogging. From recipes to pictures, you find your own reason to love this fabulous blog. Thank you Brian for guest posting on Journey Kitchen!
I'm all about comfort food. My main goal when making a dish is to feel good after eating it. In the summer, it's all about light and healthy. Salads, grilled salmon, a bowl of gazpacho. After eating these meals, I'm satisfied. But as the air gets crisper and wet leaves start to coat the sidewalks, I'm ready for something heftier. I'll take stews and soups and baked potatoes. And, unlike other times of the year, I'll even go for dessert.
Don't get me wrong, I love dessert. In the summer months, though, I pretty much only consume ice cream. And when the seasons change, I stop. Cookies and cakes, while delicious, don't bring me the same joy that ice cream does. Once in a while, I'll make an apple pie or a batch of pumpkin brownies.
If anything is going to change that, though, it's going to be this chocolate pudding. I saw this recipe the first time I picked up Joanne Chang's gorgeous cookbook and haven't forgotten about it. It has been on my "to make" list for a while and now I can vouch for this devilishly delicious dessert. Holy moly. This is the kind of dessert that makes you tingle in places... and, believe me, this is a good thing.
When Kulsum asked me to write a guest post for her (which, I must say, I was honored that she thought of me) while she is away, I wrote back looking for suggestions for the kind of recipe she was interested in. Without hesitating, she requested something with chocolate. Apparently she's a bit of a chocoholic. And this will no doubt satisfy her cravings.
Best Ever Chocolate Pudding
1 ½ cups half and half
1 ¾ heavy cream
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped (70-77% cacao)
7 egg yolks
¾ cup vanilla sugar*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Unsweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings for serving, optional
*Vanilla sugar: Place a vanilla pod (can be one that has already been used) in an airtight container with about 4 cups (800 grams) sugar for 1 week, and the sugar will pick up the aroma of the vanilla.
In a medium saucepan combine the half and half and the heavy cream and scald over medium-high heat (bubbles will start to form around the edge of the pan, but the liquid is not boiling). Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and place over (but not touching) barely simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally until completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the melted chocolate and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Place the egg yolks in medium bowl and slowly whisk in the vanilla sugar. Slowly pour the hot cream-chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture a little at a time, whisking constantly. When all of the cream-chocolate mixture has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl into the saucepan (use wide bottom pan and it will cook evenly and quicker as shown to me at Flour.) Return the pan to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan often to prevent scorching for 5-6 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coat the back of the spoon thickly. To test, draw your finger along the back of the spoon, the custard should hold the trail for a couple of seconds before it fills. First the mixture will be liquid and loose and then become thicker at the bottom of the pan. As it continues to thicken, it will start to let off a little steam. When you see wisps of steam steadily rising from the pan you will know the pudding is almost done.
When the pudding is ready, immediately strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until cold. The pudding can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Just before serving, stir up the pudding to smooth it out. Spoon into dessert bowls and garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (if using).