Back in October, my Chief Culinary Consultant got pretty sick, and after nearly a full day spent in the ER, a CT scan finally provided a diagnosis of diverticulitis – a nasty infection in the lining of the intestine. Sounds awesome, right?! He was put on a pretty restricted diet and before long, our refrigerator was stocked full of pudding and Jello. A couple of strong antibiotics later, the infection was cleared up, but there remained one side effect of the diverticulitis episode… a nightly pudding craving. Months later, he still enjoys a cup or two of chocolate pudding while we’re watching television, and so I’ve been continuing to buy it. Finally, a few weeks ago, I realized this was crazy, and I should just be making him pudding. Right?! I set off to earn my “good wife” badge and whip up some chocolate pudding.
The first batch of pudding I made was a recipe that used a custard (i.e. egg) base. I cooked it for what seemed like eons and it never got as thick as I thought it should have, but I refrigerated it anyway, thinking that it might set up in the fridge. I thought wrong. My Chief Culinary Consultant coined it “chocolate pudding soup”. It lingered in the fridge for a few days, and then was shown the door.
Back to square one. I started to notice a pattern when researching chocolate pudding recipes – newer recipes all seemed to start with a custard egg base, while the older recipes all used cornstarch as the sole thickening agent. I’m a pretty traditional gal by nature, so I thought the cornstarch route might serve me well. Not surprisingly, it worked beautifully.
This pudding only takes about 10 minutes to make, and then needs to sit in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. It takes less effort than going to the grocery store, and I’m happy to provide my husband with a simple, homemade chocolate pudding for his evening snacking :)
In a medium saucepan, stir together 1¾ cups of the milk, the sugar, chocolate and salt, and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup milk and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for an additional minute, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
Pour the pudding mixture into a clean bowl (or individual serving cups or ramekins), and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the pudding until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Whisk prior to serving, if storing in a large bowl. The pudding can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.