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~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding ~

IMG_0056When I was raising three boys in the '70's and '80's, chocolate was, hands down, their favorite pudding flavor.  Just like today, grocery store shelves were full of convenient pudding options (boxes and boxes of instant and quick-cooking pudding, and, ready-to-eat lunch-box-size pudding cups). While I was often tempted to succumb to their wishes and buy those boxes, I resisted. I grew up eating homemade, creamy, dreamy, rich real-deal pudding -- my memories prevented it. As for the pudding cups, I admit, I allowed them, on occasion, as a school lunchbox treat.

IMG_0028Don't succumb to boxes of instant or quick-cooking pudding.  Creamy, dreamy, rich & real-deal pudding is easy to make.

IMG_9973My grandmother made fantastic pudding, none of which took much longer to prepare than boxed quick-cooking options.  Her recipes for chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch pudding were very similar to each other (except for the flavoring), which, made them remarkably easy to commit to memory.  The only time she changed one was when she was making pie filling instead of pudding.  For a pie, she added an extra egg yolk and an extra tablespoon of cornstarch, which, in a nutshell, is the easiest way to define the difference between a pudding and a pie filling.

IMG_99341  cup heavy cream + 1 cup whole milk, or, 2 cups half and half

1  tablespoon each:  pure chocolate and pure vanilla extract

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

3  tablespoons salted butter

2  large egg yolks

1  large egg

3/4  cup sugar

6  tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3  tablespoons cornstarch

IMG_9769 IMG_9772 IMG_9774 IMG_9776~Step 1.  In a 2-cup measuring container, measure and stir together the cream and milk or half and half, both extracts and the salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, using a fork, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks and whole egg.  Set aside.  Cut the butter into small cubes and set aside.

IMG_9941IMG_9944IMG_9950IMG_9951~Step 2.  Measure and place the sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucier or saucepan. Using a wire whisk, thoroughly combine the three.  Whisk in all of the flavored milk mixture, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.  Turn heat on to medium. Whisking constantly, heat until steaming 2-3 minutes.  Do not simmer or boil.  Turn the heat off, add the butter and whisk until butter is melted and thoroughly incorporated.  Remove from heat.

IMG_9958IMG_9960IMG_9964Step 3.  Slowly and in a thin stream, while whisking the eggs constantly with a fork, add 3-4 tablespoons of the steaming liquid to the eggs.  (Note:  This is called "tempering" and it will raise their temperature slowly and just enough to keep them from scrambling upon contact with the steaming hot milk mixture.)  In a slow, steady stream, whisk the tempered eggs into the milk mixture.  Return saucier to stovetop.

IMG_9973IMG_9991~ Step 4.  Over medium heat, whisking constantly, bring mixture slowly to a simmer, 4-5 minutes. Simmer gently, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and transfer to a 1-quart measuring container.*  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding and cool about two hours.  Stir and portion into custard cups, cover and chill for several hours (or overnight), or, use as directed in recipe.

*Note:  A lot of pudding recipes instruct to pass the pudding through a fine mesh strainer (into the measuring container) at this point, to achieve an extra-silky-smooth consistency.  This is the type of unnecessary nonsense that causes people to not make pudding.  #1.  Pudding is too thick to pass through a fine strainer or any strainer.  Try it.  It'll make you want to jump off a bridge.

Portion 3/4 cup pudding into each of 4, 1-cup custard cups:

IMG_9997Freshly-whipped cream and diced bananas on mine please:

IMG_0020How to:  Make Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding:  Recipe yields 3 cups pudding/4 servings. 

Special Equipment List:  2-cup measuring container; fork; paring knife; cutting board; 3-quart saucier or saucepan; wire whisk; 1-quart measuring container; plastic wrap; 4, 1-cup custard cups

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09a2d129970dCook's Note:  About the only thing I like better than chocolate, vanilla or butterscotch pudding is all of them layered on top of each other with graham crackers separating each flavor.  This dessert, ~ Chocolate, Vanilla and Butterscotch 'Icebox' Cake  ~ was one of my mother's specialties.  I would sit motionless on the counterstool, eyes transfixed on the process, patiently waiting for my lick of the spoon as each pudding got cooked.  Once assembled, she'd put the 'icebox' cake in the refrigerator for what seemed like an eternity, but, it had to chill to set up properly -- well worth the wait.  Eat more pudding.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


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