Something sweet.

Something comforting.

Something to gloat over in privacy.

Something to share.

Something to treat little ones, leading to chocolate grins and sticky hands.

Something naughty.

Something to remind one of the innocence of one’s youth.

Damn it, it’s just pudding. But today it honestly occurred to me that something this good should lead to love-slaves tripping over themselves to do my bidding.

This recipe is absurdly easy. It takes less than half an hour to cook but requires about two hours to chill, if placed into individual cups. After trying this, you'll realize that instant pudding is just a pale shadow of a pale shadow of real pudding. And two and a half hours isn't really that long after all.

Chocolate Pudding

makes 8-10 servings

1 c. (200g) sugar
3/4 c. (75g) cocoa powder (lightly spooned into the cup, see sift.)
pinch salt
3/4 c. (160g) water
1/3 c. (60g) chocolate chips or good quality chocolate broken up into small pieces. (When measuring by volume, measure a bit generously.)
4 c. milk
1/2 c. (50g) cornstarch. (When measuring by volume, this is a scant half cup, spooned lightly. See sift.)
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tsp. Grand Marnier or other yummy spirit (optional)
Mix the sugar and the cocoa powder together in a large saucepan until it is well mixed and there are no lumps.
Add the water and stir until it is smooth. Cook at medium high heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil. A heat resistant rubber spatula is best for the cooking as with each addition the mixture will get progressively more likely to stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. Do not let burnt pudding happen to you! There is no rescuing burnt pudding! Stir religiously.
Remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate until it is melted and thoroughly combined.
Add most of the milk to the chocolate mixture, reserving half a cup. Stir to mix well.
Add the cornstarch to the remaining milk, and stir until it is smooth. Add this to the chocolate/milk mixture and stir well.
Cook over high heat, stirring continually, until it starts to get thick. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the mixture starts to simmer (not too many bubbles will show while you are stirring, but it will get very thick, and if you stop stirring, bubbles will immediately form). Simmer for a minute, still stirring, and then remove from the heat.
Stir in the vanilla and Grand Marnier, and then portion into serving bowls/cups or one big bowl, cover, and chill for at least 2 hours or however long it takes for it to get thoroughly cold.

Dissolving the cocoa in water first brings out an intense chocolate flavor. Still, you can tweak the flavor of the pudding somewhat by your choice of chocolate. When I made this today, I used half semi-sweet chocolate and half unsweetened. This led to a very pleasing bittersweet chocolate pudding. Milk chocolate would be lighter and sweeter. White chocolate would be even lighter and sweeter. Experiment a little to fit your particular chocolate preferences.

Replacing a small amount of the milk with cream is another thought if you want a richer dessert. It doesn’t really need it though. In the grand scheme of chocolate desserts, this one misses the fat not at all.

On that note, brown sugar can be used instead of white sugar, to increase the complexity of the flavors. This is a good option if you are going to be substituting out the milk.

Whether because of food allergies, dietary choices, or religious expression, non-dairy is an easy way to go. The milk can be replaced with soy or rice milk (unsweetened) or even just plain water. I have tried this using dark brown sugar and only water. I also used rum instead of Grand Marnier. It was extremely chocolatey, more so than when made with milk, and quite good. It didn't linger on the palate as much as pudding made with milk and was quite a bit thinner. All in all, I prefer it made with milk (and topped with cream), but find the water version more than adequate. Keep in mind that the water version seems to weep a little as it sits. The pudding is still fine, but may be more aesthetically pleasing if you stir it prior to eating it.

I’ve never tried it, but I also believe that the cornstarch can be replaced with potato starch (not dehydrated potatoes), although the proportions will probably differ. Experiment a little for the best results. Upon consulting peanut’s wu, I don’t think arrowroot would hold up. I also wouldn’t try using flour, unless you’re very careful in how you cook it. The flavor of raw flour is not particularly pleasant.

Will the flavor/texture be different? Well it’s inevitable the more serious the substitution. But it will still be good, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

To serve:

Bowl. Spoon. You.

It doesn’t really get any more complicated than this. However, if you want it a little richer, you could pour a little unadulterated heavy cream on it. Or top it with a dollop of softly whipped cream (sugar optional). I had some leftover macerated strawberries, and I spooned a few of those on top with the syrup. Yum….

momomom says re Chocolate pudding: Ever use the microwave to make pudding? I stir every 2 minutes with a whisk. It works wonderfully for all milk based pudding/sauce type things I've tried. This should work great. No burning!

Glowing Fish says Have I ever told you about the best day of my life?

My best day ever was the day after I got punched and kicked in the jaw, leading to a concussion, and also got kicked in the windpipe, leading to severe discomfort. I spent the next day drinking cough syrup until my jaw stopped hurting long enough to temporarily work, and then shovelling down chocolate pudding. Shayol.
Anyway, DXM is also like chocolate pudding because it is entirely too good, and replaces the ordinary dust with a lovely floaty full textured world where you can float endlessly.

On being asked if I could recount this story here: Glowing Fish says Hmmm. Well, I guess I will be written down as a cough syrup junky, along with being regarded as a footluster. Sure, not a problem.

Yet again, I owe the original recipe to my sister. Her version requires a kitchen scale that tares, and while I have one, I know many noders do not. So I present it to you here, in all its volume converted glory.

Easy Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Serves 6

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips*
1 10-ounce package firm silken (aseptic-packed) tofu
1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar, honey**, or brown rice syrup
Dash of nutmeg
Peanut butter to taste
1 banana, sliced into rounds

Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan or double boiler over medium heat.
Pour the melted chocolate into a food processor.
Add the tofu and process until smooth.
Add the brown sugar, honey, or rice syrup.
Sprinkle in the nutmeg.
Process again until velvety smooth.
Spread peanut butter in the bottom of six dessert cups.
Pour pudding into dessert cups.
Top with banana slices.
Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.


*Note: make sure you use the kind whose ingredients say "soy lecithin" rather than just "lecithin". Chiisuta informs me that lecithin that isn't specified as soy lecithin often comes from animal sources.

**Depending on whether you consider honey to be vegan. This doesn't seem to be widely agreed upon.

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