Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chocolate pudding

Last week's New York Times Food section had several variations on the theme of chocolate pudding. I love chocolate pudding! It reminds me of being a kid. My brother and I would beg my mom to make us pudding as a special treat. It usually came out of a box, but we didn't care. When I saw the recipe for chocolate pudding with bananas, I decided to try it for a small dinner party on Sunday. Everyone loved it. I decided that it was more like chocolate pudding with bananas rather than a chocolate banana pudding. In fact, it would probably be delicious with strawberries instead of bananas. My next recipe in the pudding family will be pots de creme. I have found several good recipes including one from the NYT so I need to study them to see which one I should try.

Chocolate and banana pudding:

5 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch salt
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus 1 cup whipped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large bananas, thinly sliced
14 whole chocolate wafer cookies, plus 4 crushed, for garnish (I like Pepperidge Farm chocolate chessmen).

1. Place chocolate in a bowl. In a separate large bowl, sift together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt; whisk in egg yolks and 1/2 cup milk until smooth.

2. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring remaining 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup cream to a simmer. Pour over chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot chocolate mixture into egg mixture until completely incorporated and cocoa is dissolved.

3. Return custard to saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Do not let mixture reach a simmer. If custard begins to steam heavily, stir it, off the heat, a moment before returning it to stove top. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in vanilla.

4. Spread several tablespoons pudding evenly into an 8-inch square pan (or a glass bowl). Top with an even layer of bananas; arrange whole cookies on top of bananas. Cover with remaining pudding. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with crushed cookies. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

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