I was going to blame this blog on Jenn. (Jenn’s thinking -- Me? What did I do?) Well you posted about Rainy Day Cookies. And then CJ posted about Cold Weather Soup. So I was going to blame him, too. The truth, however, is that it has been very cold, and we had an ice storm last night that left everything coated in ice. Honestly, though the thermometer didn’t think so, it felt colder outside in the icy rain than it did when the temperature dropped into the teens last week.
So now you’re wondering why I have to blame anyone, right? Well, along with ice cream in the summer, this is a big weakness of mine -- pudding. There’s something about pudding that’s so soothing. I recommend it for days when romances break up, your sports team doesn’t win, rejections arrive from agents, and someone posts an unflattering review of your book. And then there’s the cold, wet weather thing, which justifies it almost anytime in the winter.
In THE DIVA PAINTS THE TOWN (which will be out on Groundhog Day), Sophie makes ooey gooey chocolate Mudslide Lava Cakes (the recipe is in the book) to sooth the nerves of her best friend Nina Reid Norwood. After all, Nina thinks she may have killed someone -- a problem no one wants to have! For some reason warm chocolate can fix all kinds of troubles. If chocolate doesn't fix them, it makes them more tolerable.
I won’t blame my craving for warm chocolate pudding on Jenn or CJ. But I do blame Mother Nature and her ice storm!
Homemade pudding is one of those things you can do in minutes. I’ve been know to whip it up late at night or fifteen minutes before company arrived. It’s very easy to make. You'll wonder why you ever bothered buying a mix. The basic ingredients -- milk, cornstarch, and sugar -- are probably in your kitchen right now. I’ve made lots of pudding over the years, but my favorite recipe came from Have Your Cake and Eat It Too, by Susan G. Purdy. She added corn syrup to recipe, and I still think it’s the best! I’ve monkeyed with it a hair so it’s not quite as low fat as her original recipe, but it’s still on the low fat side of the equation and has all the rich flavor we crave.
I’ve further simplified the whole process by using four tools: a heavy bottomed pot; a two-cup Pyrex measuring cup; a whisk; and a mini-whisk. No point in washing a lot of stuff!
2 cups nonfat milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons unsweetened powdered cocoa
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 - 2 tablespoons butter
1. Pour the milk into the Pyrex measuring cup.
2. Combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in the pot. Whisk together and get rid of any lumps. Use the whisk like spoon, it’s just more efficient in breaking up the lumps.
3. Pour the cold milk into the pot and whisk until blended. (Note that you still haven't turned on the stove!)
4. Measure the corn syrup in the same Pyrex cup. Add to the pot and whisk in.
5. Turn the burner to medium high and bring to a gentle boil, using the whisk as a spoon and stirring. You may need to turn down the heat when it begins to bubble. Cook so it gently bubbles, stirring with the whisk for one minute. It will thicken.
6. Remove from heat temporarily.
7. Break the egg into the same Pyrex cup and whisk with the small whisk (or a fork).
Drop a tiny amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg and whisk immediately to temper it. Add a little bit more and whisk. (This is so the egg won’t seize up and cook when it’s added to the warm liquid.)
8. Add the egg to the milk mixture and whisk in.
9. Bring to a gentle boil again and let cook for one minute, stirring the whole time.
10.Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the butter.
At this point, you can spoon it into cups or little bowls. This is a great way to use those little cups that came with your china. Spoon the pudding into the cups, refrigerate until firm, and turn over onto a plate to serve. My great indulgence is to eat it warm, but it’s perfectly delicious cold, too. Serve with fruit or cookies -- or just plain!
If you prefer Vanilla Pudding, check out my very similar recipe 1234 Vanilla Pudding at my website.
PS to Jenn's and Elizabeth's kids --
Yes! You can make banana pudding with chocolate pudding . . .