Food & Drink

Chocolate pudding

Chocolate pudding

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup warm water

1 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (optional)

2 cups half-and-half, divided

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped cream and chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

Makes 4 or 5 servings.

In a heavy saucepan, mix together the sugar, cocoa and salt. Gradually stir in the warm water, making a smooth, runny paste.

Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from the heat. For an especially thick and chocolaty pudding, add the chopped chocolate and stir briskly until melted.

Stir in 1 cups of the half-and-half.

Place the cornstarch in a separate bowl. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of half-and-half, making a smooth paste.

Thoroughly stir the cornstarch paste into the chocolate mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low; stirring briskly, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, then stir in the vanilla.

Pour the pudding into one 3-cup bowl, or 4 or 5 (5- to 6-ounce) cups or ramekins. (If you'll be unmolding the pudding, oil the cups first.)

If you do not want a skin to form, immediately press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Serve garnished with whipped cream and grated chocolate if desired