Puddings of The Times

Then, just when she has us imagining the hypnotic zen-like action of quietly stirring our puddings into a silken state, she admits that she – like me, actually because of me – uses the food processor to make pudding.  As she says: [it’s] a little mechanical voodoo to ward off lumps and aerate the final mixture.  I love that description!  Using the food processor is clearly a compromise, but Sara’s worked out the difference between what she gets and what she has to give up.  The noise of the whizzing machine might disturb the calm of my stovetop reverie, but the satin texture makes the disruption worthwhile, she writes.

The article includes recipes for five puddings that couldn’t be more different one from the other.  There’s the author’s Rice Pudding with Chai Spices and Saffron Apricots (how good does that sound!) as well as her Hasty Pudding; a Mango Pudding from Sherry Yard‘s excellent new book, Desserts by the Yard; a Baked Corn Pudding made with John Cope’s Sweet Dried Corn, which I’m dying to try; and the Gianduja Pudding, pictured above (the photo, by Tony Cenicola, is from The New York Times).

The Gianduja Pudding is adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours and I think it’s a terrific riff on my Chocolate Pudding.  Gianduja always means there’ll be chocolate and hazelnuts and Sara uses hazelnuts to infuse the pudding’s milk and Frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur, to deepen the nuts’ flavor. 

If you want to go straight with the chocolate pudding, here’s the recipe

CHOCOLATE PUDDING, From Baking From My Home To Yours

Makes 6 servings

2 1/4 cups whole milk

6 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and still warm

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Have six ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 4 to 6 ounces (1/2 to 3/4 cup), at hand.

Bring 2 cups of the milk and 3 tablespoons of the sugar to a boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.

While the milk is heating, put the cocoa, cornstarch and salt into a food processor and whir to blend.  Turn them out onto a piece of wax paper, put the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, the egg and egg yolks into the processor and blend for 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and pulse just to mix, then add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to blend.

With the machine running, very slowly pour in the hot milk mixture.  Process for a few seconds, then put everything back into the saucepan.  Whisk without stopping over medium heat – making sure to get into the edges of the pan – until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles burble up to the surface and pop (about 2 minutes).  You want the pudding to thicken, but you don’t want it to boil, so lower the heat if necessary.

Scrape the pudding back into the processor (if there’s a scorched spot, avoid it as you scrape) and pulse a couple of times.  Add the chocolate, butter and vanilla and pulse until everything is evenly blended.

Pour the pudding into ramekins.  If you don’t want a skin to form (some people think the skin is the best part), press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding to create an airtight seal.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Dorie Greenspan

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