There are some things that for some reason or other no one makes from scratch anymore – the packaged varieties and mixes have become de rigeur, even though starting from simple ingredients is almost as easy. Pudding is one of those things.
There is no reason to buy a little box of sugar, cocoa, thickening agents, additives and preservatives when a similar dry mix, minus the nasty stuff, can be stirred together in a little over a minute. Add milk, bring to a simmer and thicken and voila – the Real Thing. And if you really do like the convenience of a mix, make your own – stir together the dry ingredients and stash in a zip-lock baggie until you need it.
My Mom used to make this when there was nothing else in the house and we needed a quick chocolate fix – chances are you have the ingredients in your cupboard already. It can be made with 1% milk, soy milk, 2% or even light cream. The chopped chocolate isn’t necessary, but it adds intensity to the flavor and creates an even creamier texture.
Real Chocolate Pudding
1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar
1/3 cup (80 mL) cocoa
3 Tbsp. (45 mL) cornstarch
2 cups (500 mL) milk or light cream
3 oz. (85 g) chopped semi-sweet chocolate or 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Stir in about a cup of the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth and well blended, then whisk in the remaining milk. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Continue to cook the pudding for another minute.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate and vanilla. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the chocolate melt, and stir it until it’s smooth.
Divide the pudding between 4 small bowls. Let it cool for about 20 minutes and serve it warm, or put it in the fridge for at least half an hour (or several hours) and serve it cold. If you don’t like pudding “skin”, cover the surface with plastic wrap before you chill it. Serves 4.