I don't waste calories on dessert unless it's chocolate. This statement was issued by a guest in our dining room the other day and we took it as a challenge to create intense chocolate desserts for a true chocophile. He was happy to have chocolate three meals a day and fortunately most of his dining companions were equally happy to follow suit. Except for the one (there's always one) person who couldn't eat chocolate at all. Although at this point making the adjustments for one person is a piece of cake. Our pantry is up to the challenge any day.
So last night was our chocoholic's last dinner with us. We were originally going to use the antigriddle for a half frozen chocolate pudding dessert. I've always been a a pudding fan. I love the smooth texture and the way that a pudding's creamy sweetness lingers on the tongue. It's delicious and comforting, like the memory of childhood when chocolate pudding was one of the best treats imagined and available. Mousses are definitely not my thing. They are too light and fluffy and French. When it comes to dessert I prefer American all the way. Pies, layer cakes and puddings versus pastries, genoise and mousses. In preparation for the intended dessert we made a chocolate pudding and loaded it up with extra chocolate. My theory was that the extra chocolate would give it a thicker, more viscous texture to ensure that it would hold up better to being aerated in an ISI canister before being dropped onto the antigriddle. I was aiming for intense and light at the same time. But when Alex and Chris tasted the pudding plans were changed. They loved it so much that we served it as a pudding with a thin layer of avocado, spicy candied walnuts and strawberries that were confited in a strawberry-red wine gastrique (I only discriminate against French desserts, not French techniques). The chocophile cleaned his bowl and asked for seconds. What better compliment is there than that?
Intense Chocolate Pudding
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1 cup of cocoa
1 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of flour
4 cups of milk
4 eggs yolk, lightly beaten
5 ounces of cold butter, diced
3 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate
Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa and salt in a large heavy sauce pan. Add one half of a cup of milk and whisk over medium heat to form a thick paste. Slowly whisk in the remainder of the milk and the egg yolks until fully incorporated and continue to cook until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat proof rubber spatula. When the mixture is thick enough to coat your spoon or spatula remove the pot from heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and incorporated. Add the butter and stir until melted and fully incorporated. Strain through a fine sieve into a heat proof bowl. Place plastic wrap directly against the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least six hours before serving. If you like pudding skin refrigerate uncovered for two hours, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and continue to chill for four more hours before serving. You can also refrigerate the pudding in individual serving dishes.