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Rich Chocolate Pudding

Alexis the Princess Cow had her calf, the milk is rolling in – and I have gained a new appreciation for my mother and her creative and thrifty ways.  Growing up we always had a milk cow and as a result, a never-ending assortment of puddings, custards, and fresh cheeses filled the fridge as she attempted to deal with the continual onslaught of milk.  There was also an unfortunte incident with a batch of cottage cheese that even the dog wouldn’t eat…but that is another story.  Basically, she managed to use gallons of the stuff without breaking a sweat. 

Most folks in this day and age buy milk as needed; as in “Oh, pick up a gallon so of milk on the way home.” or “We are almost out of milk again!”  Almost no one has a family cow and none of my friends ever has to answer the question, “How am I going to use up 3 gallons of milk today?”  I am sharing with the calf right now and he takes a couple gallons a day, and until last week the pigs enjoyed extra milk.   But, they went to the butcher on Wednesday, leaving me with lots of extra milk until the new batch of piglets arrive in a couple weeks.  Now, before you ask, the answer is: “No, I can’t sell raw milk.”  I am not a Grade A Dairy so I can’t sell, barter, trade or give away milk – no cow shares – no wink, wink, nudge, nudge, look the other way.  The WSDA takes their job seriously and I have no desire to get crossways of them.  If you are interested in buying raw milk my farmer friend Karen Olsen at Black Jack Valley Farm sells raw milk, fresh eggs, pastured chicken and beef from her farm off of Sidney Rd.  You can also buy her milk at Farmer George’s Meats in Port Orchard and at the Poulsbo Farmer’s Market.  If you want to buy local raw milk you can reach her at 360-731-3382 or via email at bljkvalleyfarms@aol.com

Back to my dilemma.  I make fresh cheeses like mozerrella and ricotta ( there are 3 gallons of milk in a pan of lasagna!), yoghurt, yoghurt cheese, buckets of white sauce for things like mac’n’cheese and we drink milk at EVERY meal. I have made soap and I also make aged cheeses like cheddar.  And, this discussion doesn’t even take into account using up a gallon of heavy cream a couple times a week!  Now, some folks might enjoy this froathy, white bounty but I am here to tell you that the sheer unrelenting nature of coping with this much milk taxes you.  So, I took a page out of my mom’s play book and made pudding.  As a child there was always the large pyrex bowl in the fridge, covered with Saran wrap, filled with pudding.  Usually butterscotch or vanilla, but periodically we would get chocolate.  Now, my mom was a home ec teacher in a former life so she made good pudding – rich and creamy.  Not like Jello Cook and Serve which has a undertone of artificial flavor, or heaven forbid, instant Jello Pudding with its coat the roof of your mouth unpleasantness.  However, her recipe is lost in the sands of time and she assured me that it was “just a recipe for pudding!”  So, I went in search of the perfect pudding recipe.  After some trial and error (America’s Test Kitchen let me down a bit this time) I came across this recipe on culinate.com.    It is divine, creamy, chocolaty and purely addictive.  This is not chocolate pudding for the faint of heart! 

Creamy Chocolate Pudding from Culinate.com
Serves 6 to 8 ( I triple the recipe and just use whole milk because it is about 30% milkfat anyhow!)

Ingredients:

  •  3 Tbsp. cornstarch  
  • ½ cup granulated sugar  
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutched) 
  • ⅛ tsp. salt  
  • 1 cup heavy cream  
  • 1½ cups whole milk 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. (about 1¼ cups) chopped semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine and I only use about 2 cups) 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract  
  • Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)  
  • Grated chocolate, for garnish (optional) 

Directions:

  1. Put the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk the ingredients together thoroughly, making sure no cornstarch or cocoa-powder lumps remain. Whisk in the cream and milk.
  2. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking steadily and scraping the sides of the pan occasionally. When warm (but before the pudding comes to a boil), whisk in the egg, the butter, and the chopped chocolate. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring until the butter and chocolate have melted and dissolved into the mixture.
  3. When the pudding has come to a low boil and begun to thicken, remove from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla extract and pour the pudding into dessert dishes or a single large bowl. (I pour it through a strainer into a big bowl – catches any bits of egg that get over cooked.)
  4. You can let the pudding cool slowly on the countertop and serve it soft and warm, if you like. If you prefer to serve it firm and chilled, cover the pudding with plastic wrap (stretched taut if you like skin on your pudding, or pressed gently into the surface of the pudding if you don’t) and refrigerate until set.
  5. Serve garnished with freshly whipped cream and grated semisweet chocolate.

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