It shouldn't come as a surprise that I tend to accumulate extra chocolate in my line of work. To put that chocolate to good use, I've developed some go-to chocolate-forward recipes that I use in my own kitchen, and I'd like to start sharing them with you. I'm kicking things off today with an easy chocolate pudding recipe--a great option when warm summer days call for a cooler take on chocolate.
My favorite recipes showcase simple, high-quality ingredients, and this chocolate pudding is no exception. It's easy to prepare, and there aren't tons of flavors competing with the chocolate. The point is to taste the character of the chocolate itself.
The fun (and important) part is choosing your chocolate. For a fruitier pudding, go with a fruitier chocolate, like this one from Belize. Or, for a more classic flavor, try chocolate from Ghana. Here's a tip: you may be tempted to add vanilla, but when you're using high-quality chocolate, try skipping it. The added flavor can be a distraction.
As for the sweetener, I like a touch of honey, but feel free to use what you like. Good dark chocolate is usually in the 60-80% range and will benefit from gentle sweetening in this recipe.
To thicken the pudding, my choice is arrowroot powder. It's much less processed than other thickeners and does not add flavor to the pudding--and that's perfect since we want to keep the spotlight on the chocolate! If you haven't worked with arrowroot powder before, it's a great thickening tool to keep in your kitchen arsenal. You'll find it at most natural foods stores, some spice stores, or on Amazon.
Cooking time is about 15 minutes, plus 2-4 hours to chill. Here we go.
4 oz of your favorite single-origin dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups whole milk, preferably from cows raised on pasture (better for the cows and for you)
4 tbsp arrowroot powder
sweetener of your choice, to taste (I like about 3 tbsp honey)
In a medium saucepan, combine arrowroot powder and milk, stirring vigorously until arrowroot powder is completely dissolved. There should be no lumps!
Add the chocolate and sweetener to the milk mixture.
Place the saucepan over medium heat. Warm until the chocolate melts and the mixture begins to steam, stirring frequently with a rubber scraper to prevent lumps from forming on the bottom of the pan. Continue heating and stirring until the mixture becomes noticeably thick. Once thickened, immediately remove from heat and transfer contents to containers of your choice.
Chill the pudding in the fridge for several hours before serving. If you enjoy pudding skin, leave pudding uncovered while chilling. Otherwise, cover it to prevent a skin from forming.
To fully savor the flavor of your chocolate, I recommend serving this pudding plain, in small dishes or ramekins, and enjoying it slowly. Fresh fruit or real whipped cream make a nice garnish when the occasion calls for it.
Makes about 2.5 cups / 4-6 servings.
Milk: non-dairy milks work, too. Use the same quantity (2 cups).
Arrowroot: cornstarch works, too. Use the same quantity (4 tbsp).