Makes 3 (6 oz) servings
- ¼ cup unsweetened natural (not Dutched) cocoa powder
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 ¾ Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt or Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 pint half-and-half
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (at least 72%), more for garnish
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Freshly whipped cream
- Not sure your pudding has thickened enough? Dip a spoon in the mixture: if the pudding base coats the back of the spoon, it's ready to come off the heat.
- Note: Experiment with different garnishes
This eggless dark chocolate pudding recipe delivers the intensity of flavor that a serious chocolate lover craves. Its deep chocolate flavor comes from unsweetened cocoa and bittersweet chocolate (I prefer a fruity chocolate in the 90% range). I also add a touch of espresso for emphasis. A light kiss of sugar ensures it’s not too sweet. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche and any other garnish you’re craving. Flaky sea salt, orange zest, candied ginger, cacao nibs, and raspberries are some of my favorites, but go ahead and have it your way.
In a medium bowl, sift together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, espresso powder, and salt.
In a 3-qt heavy-duty saucepan (not non-stick), whisk together the half-and-half and the cocoa-powder mixture until thoroughly blended with no lumps. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the pudding starts to bubble and thicken, about 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped chocolate and vanilla, and mix until the chocolate has completely melted and the pudding is blended and smooth.
Pour the pudding into 6-ounce ramekins, bowls, or jars. Set aside to cool for about 1 hour. To help prevent “skin” from forming on top of the pudding, loosely cover the ramekins with a baking sheet during this cooling period. (If you like pudding skin--and plenty of us do--then no need to cover the ramekins at this stage.)
Cover each dish with plastic wrap (or a lid); refrigerate until the pudding is chilled, about 1 hour. The pudding will thicken further as it chills.
Top each pudding with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream (or, lightly sweetened if you prefer) and grated chocolate or cocoa powder. Serve.
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