Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today is NATIONAL CHOCOLATE PUDDING DAY


Happy National Chocolate Pudding Day! YUM – Could there be a better holiday?!?! Chocolate pudding is such an American classic. You can make it in less than two minutes thanks to the instant pudding people, you can rip off a lid and enjoy it immediately now thanks to the pudding cup manufacturers (I always worry about shelf stable dairy products, but that is another topic). Or you can really treat yourself, take about a half-hour and make it from scratch.

So rich and creamy! Chocolate pudding is essentially the same as custard, the difference being the added cornstarch to make it thicker. Pudding, or a version of we call pudding today, dates back to the Middle Ages where they would make sweet pudding-like custards flavored with honey and nuts. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, pudding was fed to children and invalids not as a dessert but as high-caloire, wholesome food to those with little appetite.

In 1918 the first packaged pudding was introduced to the marketed by My*T*Fine. Jell-O did not introduce its chocolate pudding mix until 1934 as Walter Baker’s Dessert, changing it to Jell-O in 1936.

The key to making chocolate pudding is to use a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat to prevent the milk from scorching and to stir it constantly to prevent it from sticking. Some people push their pudding through a fine-mesh sieve after it has cooked to remove any lumps that formed while cooking. Pudding can be eaten warm, striaght from the stove top or cooled in the refrigerator. If you do not like a thin film or skin on the top of your pudding, then press a sheet of plastic wrap over the top while it cools.

Milk Chocolate Pudding
Gourmet, February 2007 from
epicurious.com
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2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz fine-quality milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. (Mixture will be thick.) Remove from heat.

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Whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.Transfer to a bowl and chill pudding, its surface covered with wax paper (to prevent a skin from forming), until cold, at least 2 hours.

Cooks' note: Pudding can be chilled, covered with plastic wrap after 2 hours, up to 3 days.

2 comments:

Corinne: Blue Girl in Red State said...

You need to set things up so we can get a free sample when we read your blog. This just makes me crave things!!

Chef Jen said...

I will see what I can do about that :-)