Valentine’s Day (Almost) Instant Chocolate Pudding
Makes 2 1⁄4 cups for two pudding-loving lovers or 3 to 4 smaller servings
Everyday is Chocolate Dessert Day, but I have particular demands of my chocolate dessert on Valentine’s Day. On this occasion, I want my chocolate to be deeply, definitely chocolaty, luxuriously creamy and rich tasting, without being heavy in the least. I prefer to eat my chocolate nirvana slightly warm, and off a spoon––yours or mine. What I am describing may sound like a multi-step chocolate mousse, but this almost instant real chocolate pudding is a one-pot wonder, lightning fast to make (the Valentine Holiday is no time to find a sink full of pots, pans and utensils). Serve the pudding topped with red berries or something crunchy if you like, in fancy cups or jelly glasses. But trust me, making a Valentine Chocolate treat was never was so easy or delicious!
1⁄2 cup organic granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup organic cornstarch (do not use arrowroot)
1⁄4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1⁄2 cups plus 6 tablespoons So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Beverage (Vanilla or Original both work great)
1 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (59 to 62% cacao), chopped into small pieces (or use chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Note: The cornstarch is crucial to get the right texture for this pudding. Using another starch thickener, such as my usual first choice arrowroot, would result in pudding with a soft and unpleasant texture.
Tip: Sift all the dry ingredients into the saucepan early in the day, measure the chopped chocolate or use chips, and then just add the liquid and cook.
Sift the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt through a wire mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the milk. Keep stirring until no trace of any of the dry ingredients is visible. The idea is to make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved before you turn on the heat.
Cook over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture be- gins to thicken and is close to a boil. This can take as long as 12 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to get a full boil, but don’t let it be so high that the bottom scorches. As soon as the pudding starts to boil, it will thicken to pudding consistency. Immediately lower the heat and boil gently for another minute, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Gently stir in the chocolate with the silicone spatula until the chocolate is melted and incorporated. Stir in the vanilla.
Spoon the pudding into a bowl. It will be set and ready to use in about 30 minutes at room temperature, but it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If you refrigerate it, cover the surface with parchment paper or plastic wrap, making sure the wrap adheres to the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts by Fran Costigan (Running
Press; October 10, 2014 ISBN-13;978-0762445912) Photos by ©Kate Lewis