It is one of my goals while doing this blog to perfect puddings and custards from scratch. We have already seen the panna cotta I made last summer, as well as the custardy mixture that went into the vanilla ice cream at Thanksgiving, and the custardy failure during the making of my birthday cake. Here I thought I would dial it down a notch and go with a simple chocolate pudding. The process is relatively easy, though you have to pay close attention, and all it needs is a few hours in the refrigerator to encourage you to chocolate gluttony. This recipe (adapted only slightly) comes out of The Joy of Cooking (1997), as all classic recipes should.
In a heavy saucepan, whisk thoroughly together 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa, and a pinch of salt.Gradually stir in 1/3 cup warm water, making a smooth, runny paste.Bring to a boil over medium heat, making sure to stir constantly.
Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer, then cook for a further minute. Remove it from the heat and add in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, then pour the hot pudding into 4 or 5 ramekins or pudding cups. If you don’t want a skin to form, immediately place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pudding surface. I like the skin, so I left it as is. Refrigerate your pudding for at least 2 hours before serving, and up to 2 days.