I post this recipe in honor of my college reunion this past weekend. Pompadour Pudding was one of our signature desserts, and we alumnae are still talking about it (well, that and the chocolate-peppermint pie…).
I don't know about your college experience, but back in my day meals were a big deal. The menu didn't matter, just the break, sitting with friends, and so on. Of course, in those distant days each dormitory had its own kitchen and made a lot of its food from scratch. Now, mainly for economy reasons, the kitchens have been consolidated, and students must actually leave their dorm to eat (not much fun during New England winters!). On the plus side, there is far more diversity than there once was (including one vegan/vegetarian/kosher dorm kitchen), and the hours are far more flexible. Life, including food, marches on.
I've had this recipe for years. I own custard cups because of it (I found them at a yard sale). I know, nobody makes custard any more, but in this case I think it's worth it. The custard is sweet and creamy, topped with a crisp and chocolaty crust that melts on the tongue. And the whole thing is actually easy to make.
1½ cups whole milk4 Tblsp. sugar
1 Tblsp. flour
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla
Mix all the custard ingredients except the vanilla and cook slowly (in a double-boiler if you have one) until it thickens slightly. Add the vanilla last.
Pour the mixture into heatproof custard cups.
Chocolate meringue topping:
½ square chocolate (semisweet)2 Tblsp. sugar
1 egg white
1 Tblsp. milk
Grate or finely chop the chocolate, then cook it together with the sugar and milk until the chocolate is melted. Let the mixture cool (but not too much or it will stiffen).
Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cool chocolate mixture.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the meringue over the custard in the cups (it will float).
Set the custard cups into a pan of hot water (the water should come only partway up the sides). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven the meringue is domed and looks crisp on the surface.
How long? Well, the original recipe said something like "cook until done." I looked at an old Fanny Farmer cookbook recipe for custard and it said the same thing. But this is not very time-sensitive. I cooked mine (in the water-filled pan) for an hour, and the custard was set but not rubbery and the topping was crisp.
And it tastes just the way it used to.