Sunday, September 8, 2013

Freezer Friendly Chocolate Pudding

I cook as many things as I can that are freezable, then freeze individual portions and grab one when I want one. I have frozen many servings of chocolate pudding, but it never quite worked right. Corn starch, the usual pudding thickener, doesn't hold up well to freezing. I could eat the corn starch pudding slightly frozen and it was okay. After that, it got liquidy. My second attempt, arrow root starch, produced slimy pudding. *shudders* Oh, and also doesn't freeze well. Rather than try every possible starch out there, I did some webby research and found what I thought would be an ideal solution: tapioca. And it is! The pudding made with tapioca starch tastes great. I can't tell I used tapioca instead of corn starch. And, it can be frozen and thawed and stays the consistency of pudding! So here's my recipe for freezer friendly chocolate pudding.

A word on chocolate. This pudding tastes like whatever chocolate and cocoa you use to make it. Use chocolate that you love to eat. For me, that's a good Dutch processed cocoa and semisweet chocolate. If you don't order a 10kg bag of Callebaut's semisweet callets as soon as the weather turns cold each year, you might try looking at Whole Foods. It was there that I got addicted to Callebaut chocolate!

6 egg yolks
2 cups of cream
5 cups of milk
2 cups of sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup tapioca starch (sometimes called tapioca flour), this makes a fairly soft pudding. Add 1-2 extra tablespoons of tapioca starch if you want a firmer pudding.
6 tablespoons cocoa (Increase to 1/2 cup for a more intense chocolate flavor.)
12 ounces chocolate (If you are using callets, use about 2 cups.)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a pan that is at least 4 quarts in size, measure out the sugar, tapioca starch, cocoa, and salt. Mix until everything is combined.
Add the egg yolks and cream. Mix until the egg yolks are well incorporated and all of the dry ingredients are wet. (This is important. If you have little bits of egg yolk hanging around they are likely to scramble when you start heating the pudding.)
Add the milk. Mix a little at this point, but you don't have to worry about getting it perfect.
Over medium heat, cook while stirring continuously until the pudding thickens. You'll notice some light colored foam on top at first. When this blends in, the pudding is close to being cooked. When it becomes the consistency of melted chocolate and you get a bubble or two rising up from the bottom of the pan, you are good to go.
Remove from heat. Stir in the chocolate and keep stirring until it melts. Stir in the vanilla.

Strain the pudding. Yes, strain. I know it's a pain, but, you'll get rid of any lumps that way. And resist the urge to smush the lumps through the strainer. That just makes smaller lumps, it doesn't get rid of them. You are however welcome to scrape the bottom of the strainer to get all of the pudding.

At this point, you can take a big bowl of pudding and put it in the fridge, or, you can divide it into small containers to refrigerate or freeze. If you don't want a pudding skin, put plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding, or, fill up your containers all the way so that the lid touches the top surface.

Lastly, and most importantly, enjoy the super tasty result!! :)