Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh my puddin'.

“The proof of an idea is not to be sought in the soundness of the man fathering it, but in the soundness of the idea itself. One asks of a pudding, not if the cook who offers it is a good woman, but if the pudding itself is good.” Henry Louis Mencken
In this case, I believe both the goodness of the woman and the goodness of the pudding to be sound. I am indeed a good woman, and more important still, my pudding was very, VERY good. The proof is in the pudding, you might say. And the proof that this pudding is delicious is the fact that we made the recipe for guests not once, but twice this weekend. It is that good. In fact I think this pudding has initiate a a new phase of good, henceforth to be known as twice-in-one-weekend-good.

The pudding is good for two reasons. Well, really its good for three if you count the obvious reason that it involves peanut butter and chocolate. But I will assume you all already knew that was part of what made it good, so we will just focus on the two reasons. First, preparation is Simple, with a capital S. Simpler than boxed cake even. Just mix dry ingredients into milk and cream, boil on a stove briefly, add the main ingredient of either peanut butter or chocolate, and serve. No egg yolks, no complicated measurements or fancy techniques, just quick and simple preparation. Secondly, the pudding is rich, thick, and firm almost instantly. For a well-planned dinner party last Friday we made the pudding the night before to set overnight and it was great. Then, for an impromptu dinner party on Saturday I made the pudding on a whim with only two hours to set and it was still great. I even licked the bowl still warm from the stove and it was set.

The only thing to note, in regard to setting, is that the pudding lumps quickly once it starts to set. If you have it served while still liquid, it sets silky smooth. But, if you let it start to set as you are still serving and stirring, expect some lumps. But do not fret, if you dish up your pudding with speed and alacrity after removing from heat, you will be just fine.

I think I am now a pudding addict. This week alone I have started stockpiling pudding recipes with the intention of making pudding every weekend. How about this lemon pudding served in a unique presentation? It would be so cute for a Easter brunch or a baby shower. Or what about this orange tapioca pudding feature orange flavor in four different incarnations: zest, juice, liqueur, and fresh pieces of the fruit? Or this watermelon pudding feature so much fresh fruit and perfect for the summertime?

So many puddings, so few weekends. At least there are only two and a half more days until Friday.

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Pudding
from Bon Appetite December 2008

The recipe suggest that you serve the puddings in clear dishes to show off the distinct layers, and I agree. I didn't have any beautiful clear dishes in my china cabinet, so I purchased a dozen half-pint mason jars at the grocery store for $5.39 and it made the most adorable presentation. Also, the second time through I decreased the sugar in the milk chocolate pudding by half (only 3 tablespoons) because I like a deep chocolate flavor, and the sugar was diluting the cocoa. You can top with fresh whipped cream, but it does not add much to a dish. I recomend skipping it. And if Kate, the queen of homemade whipped cream, is the one suggesting you omit whipped cream, you better believe it does not add much.

Peanut butter pudding:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate pudding:
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces imported milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Peanut butter pudding:
Whisk first 3 ingredients in large saucepan to blend. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to boil. Then boil until thick, whisking constantly, about 30 seconds. Whisk in peanut butter; boil until thick again, whisking often, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla. Divide pudding among six 1-cup glasses or dishes (generous 1/3 cup each). Chill uncovered while preparing chocolate pudding.

For chocolate pudding:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to boil. Boil until thick, whisking constantly, about 30 seconds. Add chopped chocolate. Boil until chocolate melts and pudding is thick again, whisking often, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla. Cool pudding 5 minutes. Spoon atop peanut butter pudding, dividing equally (about 1/3 cup each). Chill puddings uncovered until cold, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.


Carmen said...

I'm definitely adding this to my list of things to make. And since Will's on a diet, I'm going to have to eat it all myself.

Poor me.

ohmypuddin said...

Love the title of this post!