Just like chocolate pudding, this entry promises to be short-lived and ultra-sweet. Think of it as an ode to our love of chocolate and a few dear friends.
We love chocolate. It’s really not a surprise for a sweet-toothed person like me, but it might be a surprise for anyone who knows Jason. He’s that guy, like I have found many men to be, who would rather eat another piece of steak than look at the dessert menu. Savory will always win out for Jason — a fact I still cannot wrap my head around. [The dessert menu is always an option in my book, btw. Even when I feign fullness, I am always in the mood for dessert.]
There are a few notable exceptions to his rule though, and while the list may be short, it is carefully guarded and greatly cherished as the only guaranteed way to his stomach [and thus, I keep telling myself, his heart]. They are:
- Chocolate pecan pie [his “groom’s cake” at our wedding]
- Double fudge brownies [the gooier and chocolatier the better]
- Croissants and pan au chocolate pastries [which he doesn’t think counts as dessert]
- Chocolate mousse [by itself, no gimmicks]
- Artisanal dark chocolate bars [salt and coconut welcome]
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips straight out of the freezer [by the Jason-sized handfuls]
And now, I can officially add this beautiful recipe to the list: Belgian chocolate pudding.
The impetus behind it was our dear friends, Pete and Whitney, who just became first-time homeowners this week. We were therefore vying to take them a congratulatory spread on par with our regular Game Night fare.
[One day we will get around to writing about our lavish weekly Game Night snacks, which — along with quality time with Pete and Whitney, multiple games of Dominion [aka “nerd cards], and cuddly moments with Watson — serve as the highlight of our Mondays.]
But that is a separate ode which deserves its own moment of glory. Needless to say, though, our love for Pete and Whitney runs deep, so we weren’t going to miss out on an opportunity to shower them with congratulatory foodstuffs at their new home.
My natural inclination for momentous occasions like homeownership is cake. I’m a baker, and cake is an obvious answer to all ailments and milestones. But when I came across the idea for pudding [which is much easier to transport and to clean up for still-surrounded-by-boxes homeowners], I received an unexpected surge of support from Jason. Apparently he wanted in on the decadence as well.
It took only a matter of 20 minutes, and the results were beyond anything we expected. The key, however, is the quality of chocolate. The darker and more high-quality the better. Scharffen Berger from the grocery store will certainly work, but if you can find the really good Belgian stuff, go for it. You won’t regret it. [Though you might have trouble coming up with the required 8 ounces after you take a bite and mourn the fact that you can’t eat the whole lot of it right then and there. The struggle was real and the guilt over using a beloved straight-from-Belgium chocolate bar was poignant… until we ate the pudding with Pete and Whitney. Then we were only upset because there wasn’t more of it!]
Belgian Chocolate Pudding
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 Tbs. cornstarch
- 3 Tbs. cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 c. milk, cream, or half and half
- 1 Tbs. butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 8 oz. unsweetened or dark Belgian chocolate [Cote d’Or preferred]
- Whipped cream [optional]
- Additional cocoa powder [optional]
- In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt.
- Over medium heat, slowly add in milk or cream and whisk until boiling and thickened.
- Cook 2 minutes longer, mixing constantly, and remove from heat.
- While still warm, add butter, vanilla, and chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
- Distribute between 6 serving containers or ramekins [we chose small mason jars] and let cool for about 15 minutes until room temperature.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the pudding has set, up to 24 hours.
- Top with whipped cream and cocoa powder [or don’t!] and enjoy with friends [or don’t!].