Recipe Corner: Chocolate

by Lorna Sass

I used to be very intolerant of chocoholics until I became one myself.

What is it about chocolate that makes us chocoholics? I know that there have been books and articles written on the subject, but what it probably all comes down to is the sugar and the theobromine. -- Chocolate's caffeine-cousin -- Whatever it is seems to plant very potent seeds when we're still young.

When I was no more than eight, I had a fight with a girlfriend who lived down the block. Her mother had just finished making a batch of chocolate pudding, and we were fighting about who had the right to scrape off and eat the rich chocolate stuck to the bottom of the pot. I remember fairly little about my childhood, but I remember this food fight vividly.

Because I'm a child of the fifties, you can be sure that the pot we were fighting over had held pudding of the instant variety. Indeed, lured by the brilliant advertising about instant this and instant that, I was so brain-washed that until very recently, I had no idea how quick and easy it is to make chocolate pudding from scratch.

What might remain hard, though, is deciding who gets to scrape off the bottom of the pot.

Lorna Sass is a widely published food writer and an award-winning cookbook author. Her Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way cookbook won the 2007 James Beard Foundation award for the best cookbook in the Healthy Focus category. Visit her listing on our website.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

For the most delectable taste, choose a good quality bittersweet chocolate bar. Adding a bit of espresso powder to the mix accentuates the chocolate taste, but may be considered optional.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon espresso or other instant coffee powder
  • Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

Mix the sugar, corn starch, and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk.

Turn the heat to medium-high. Stir constantly as the mixture comes to a boil. When you see bubbles begin to form around the edges, lower the heat to medium, and continue boiling gently while stirring for 1 minute. Turn the heat down very low.

Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Gradually whisk a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg. Whisk the egg mixture into the pan. Add the chocolate and coffee powder.

Whisk continuously until the chocolate melts and the pudding thickens, about 2 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then spoon into pudding bowls.

Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Garnish each portion with whipped cream, if you wish.

Recipe copyright, Lorna Sass, 2007

Back to the December 2007 Newsletter