It is incredibly easy to make chocolate pudding from scratch. Here is a list of ingredients:
- ¼ cup cornstarch, maybe a smidge more depending on how thick you like your pudding; I have taken to using about 2 Tablespoons more.
- ½ cup granulated (white) sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt (I use sea salt, which isn’t quite as salty, so a tiny bit more)
- 3 cups of milk (I use whole, unpasteurized milk)
- 6 ounces (pretty much 1 cup) of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Nestle’s)
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Contrary to all the recipes I have read, it is not necessary to use a double boiler. The equipment I use:
- 1 pot, large enough to stir in without worrying about spilling over edges
- 1 wire whisk – I particularly bought a semi-flat one, like this gravy whisk because it helps get in the corners of the pot.
- 1 heat resistant spatula
- measuring cups and spoons
Homemade pudding is one thing where it is particularly helpful to get your “meece in place,” which is my irritating version of my Chef daughter’s culinary term for having all the ingredients out and measured before beginning. She pronounces it “mees en plauce,” saying it is French. She says it Mees said like geese, and plauce said like sauce. Correct spelling: mise en place.
The first important step is to thoroughly mix the sugar and cornstarch. I do this with the wire whisk. If you don’t have a flat one, you might want to do it with a fork. It is a good time to add the salt, too. (click on any photo to enlarge or see slideshow of photos)
Next, I add the milk. This can be done all at once, and then whisk in the sugar-cornstarch mix; or you can stir as you add the milk. The main thing is to make sure that you get any of the dry ingredients that are in the corners of the pot. Use a fork if necessary to help with this.
With the heat proof spatula in hand, turn the heat on to medium or medium low. I have a gas stovetop, which I think is easier to adjust quickly if I think it is too hot or too cold, but I’m sure you can get to know your own stove well enough. Usually it is best to start out too cold and gradually increase heat, but keep stirring with the spatula. Just be patient until you get this particular detail figured out. It will heat up sooner or later, but usually by about 15 – 20 minutes. Unless you double the recipe, like I often do. Then it will take longer. In all the times I’ve made chocolate pudding this way, I have never scorched it.
Keep heating and stirring until it thickens and turns kind of a creamy color. It will also start to coat the spatula. Stir it a couple minutes more, to keep thickening some.
Now, you can add the vanilla and the chocolate chips. Stir those in until all is melted. The mixture turns light brown at first, then tends to darken a bit more. All you have to do now is decide whether you want to eat it warm or cold. At this point, if it forms a skin and this bothers you, stir it in and it melts again. If you want it to cool without a skin, you should put it in something other than the hot pot, then cover the top of the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. I always eat some warm.
My recipe is adapted from that for Silky Chocolate Pudding in the book Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate. It calls for 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped. I found the chopping inconvenient, and the taste too rich for regular eating. This led to some research into the cocoa percentages of different chocolates. The book Bittersweet says there are no exact standards for what is considered semi-sweet chocolate. It is taken to mean a cocoa bean content of 50 – 60 percent. Most of the other 40 – 50 percent is sugar, and possibly up to 12% milk solids. If you want to know some details about chocolate, this is a good book, but the main thing to know is that for something like cakes, a much different percentage of chocolate than what the recipe calls for will affect more than just the flavor. It might change the way all the proportions and ingredients affect each other.
Once during my investigations, I wondered if cocoa powder might be more of a “pure” chocolate substance. I discovered that it actually has more of the cocoa bean fats removed, so in some ways is more processed. I decided to stick with using chocolate chips. So far, my chocolate pudding is perfect every time.