I consider myself to be a romantic, but lately Valentine’s Day has lost its luster. Even if we could find a sitter, the preponderance of low-quality prix-fixe restaurant meals just isn’t appealing. And I was surprised last year when I couldn’t even find a restaurant to get take-out (we ended up getting soup from Whole Foods).
This year, however, I’m going to try and be more prepared by shopping ahead of time to make a nice meal at home. I’m not sure yet what the main course will be, but I’ve got the dessert figured out – chocolate pudding. I’ve always loved making my own pudding. It’s easy, cheap, and you can insert whatever flavors you might like. I love making parfaits with mine and layering it with bananas, whipped cream and candy.
I was inspired to make it again after seeing a recipe in last month’s issue of Real Simple. Unfortunately, I found that pudding to be a little gloppier than I would have liked. So this time around, I’m going with Martha Stewart. I’ve made this recipe a bunch of times and it’s never stirred me wrong. I love to add a little orange peel to the custard before I pour it through the sieve.
Recipe’s after the jump.
Martha Stewart’s Chocolate or Vanilla Pudding
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (if making chocolate pudding)
2 1/2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. If making chocolate pudding, add cocoa powder. Very gradually (a few tablespoons at a time) whisk in milk, taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
2.Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding.
3.Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Before serving, whisk pudding until smooth.