Most of my life memories have to do with food, usually a flavor, an aroma, a favorite recipe, or gatherings around a meal. My first food memory is from when I was about five years old. Our Mom has always liked to cook and bake; her desserts were something I always looked forward to. When we were kids she would make chocolate pudding for us and serve it in Tupperware parfait cups, the kind where the bottom stand snapped on. After dinner I remember sitting on the living room floor in front of the television (surely a safe distance away) with my siblings Cheryl and Robert, savoring every spoonful of pudding while watching Lost in Space. Wow! I was in kid heaven, eating homemade chocolate pudding and watching a fantasy television show. The family was lost and traveling in a spaceship to different planets with a walking robot (Danger, Will Robinson!) to protect them, and an annoying man named Dr. Smith who was always causing trouble. Back then, there weren’t many shows like that on the airwaves. I am still a huge fan of science fiction, chocolate pudding, and any meal Mom cooks for me.
I do more cooking than baking so I didn’t have a pudding recipe on hand. My Mom was always using her Betty Crocker Cookbook when we were kids; in fact she told me she still uses the same book today even though it is falling apart. The pudding she made was either a Jell-O mix or from scratch using the Betty Crocker recipe. For the official pudding description, I consulted one of my reference books, “The Professional Chef” by Wayne Gisslen. The two most popular types of pudding are starch-thickened (cream pudding, pastry cream) where flour or cornstarch is used as a thickener and eggs are tempered into a hot cream mixture, and baked (custards, pots de crème, crème brulee) where egg yolks are used as the thickener and the mixture is baked in the oven without stirring, usually in a water bath. Chocolate pudding is just vanilla pudding with chocolate added. Spoon, please!
These are the only ingredients you’ll need for this yummy goodness! I modified the Betty Crocker recipe, which only takes about 15 minutes to make on the stove top (at least an hour in the refrigerator to cool) and most of the work is just stirring the mixture. This one is super simple in my book. Instead of using unsweetened cocoa and more sugar as most recipes call for, I used my favorite bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips for a rich and deep chocolate flavor. Another thanks to Mom for introducing me to Tahitian Vanilla extract a few years ago, which I used in this recipe. This brand, in my opinion, has the best tasting Tahitian Vanilla around. The flavor is deep but not muddy, with a wonderful floral scent. It’s also divine in fresh whipped cream, which would be a great garnish for this pudding.
Some like the thick coating or “skin” that develops on the top when the pudding cools. I prefer it without; to prevent it from forming just lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the warm pudding before putting in the refrigerator to cool.
To stir the pudding, I like using a silicone-coated wire whisk rather than a spoon or wire whisk. While working at the catering company, I learned on the third consecutive try that the type of pan, whisk and whisking action can react with the egg yolks and turn your crème anglaise an ugly grey color. So to be safe and keep my pans scratch-free, I always use the coated whisk.
Click on link for recipe: Chocolate Pudding