J-e-l-l-NO. You’re making homemade.
You deserve this recipe for homemade dark chocolate pudding. It is just so good.
Unlike merely passable pre-packaged puddings — or even most homemade chocolate pudding, for that matter — this recipe combines high-quality dark chocolate, just enough sugar, plus pure vanilla, cream, and egg yolks to create a silky, rich custard that is insanely good and keeps for several days.
Why This Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe Is So Good: Bittersweet Chocolate
This dark chocolate pudding tastes better than regular pudding for several reasons.
The first reason is that it is adapted from one of my all-time favorite pastry chefs, Karen DeMasco. If you don’t own The Craft of Baking, I recommend getting it. Second, the chocolate. We’re going bold here, using bittersweet dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate tastes more assertive than milk chocolate. This is all the more important since a fair amount of cream and milk is used, which cuts the chocolate flavor. I prefer Valrhona 70% bittersweet. (Tip: You can easily buy Valrhona online, but Trader Joe’s sells 3.5 ounce bars near the register.)
Why Else This Pudding Recipe Is So Good: No Cornstarch
Another reason this chocolate pudding tastes so good? It does not use cornstarch. Cornstarch is a very common thickening agent in custards, from pastry cream to most chocolate puddings. Cornstarch is easy, versatile, and works well.
So why not use cornstarch for pudding? Two reasons. First, a little baking science. Cornstarch is hydrophobic. Though it initially absorbs liquid through heating and stirring, cornstarch will ultimately seek its natural — dry — state. After about a day, cornstarch will begin sweating out its absorbed liquid. This can cause custards to get rubbery.
Cornstarch also tastes chalky unless fully cooked. If you do not heat and stir your custard base adequately, your pudding could risk having an off, chalky taste.
Instead, this recipe uses nothing but two egg yolks as a thickener. Instead of rubbery, chalky risks, egg yolks provide a silky, rich thick texture. These puddings will keep just fine for about two days, though they will not last that long. Trust me.
What Is a Bain Marie?
A bain marie is a French term for a water bath. Bains marie are the common way to bake custards, including this chocolate pudding.
Fill your walled casserole with warm water until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (I use a teapot for this.) Baking custard in a bain marie creates a gentle barrier between the direct oven heat and the custard, evening the cooking process and preventing the custard from cracking and going dry on the sides and raw in the middle.
The result? A silky, indulgent little dessert with big chocolate flavor.
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Homemade Dark Chocolate Pudding
- 3 ounces bittersweet (70%) chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 egg yolks
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Set aside a 9" x 13" casserole dish and six 4-ounce ramekins.
- Chop the chocolate and place it in a medium bowl.
- Bring the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract to a boil, stirring occasionally. TIP: Careful! Cream will boil over very quickly, so keep a close eye, and turn the heat off just as it reaches a boil.
- Pour half the cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until emulsified. Add the remaining cream and whisk until smooth and emulsified. The chocolate should be fully melted. PRO TIP: I like to whisk in the center of the bowl at first, instead of all over. The chocolate and cream will emulsify from the center out.
- Whisk in the milk in two additions. Add the salt.
- Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add about a third of the chocolate milk mixture to the eggs and whisk. Pour the eggy mixture back into the chocolate milk and mix well.TIP: Adding some of the warm chocolate milk mixture tempers the egg yolks. This ensures that the eggs won't cook or curdle from the heat.
- Divide the liquid between the six ramekins and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 to 30 minutes, until very cool room temperature.
- Place the ramekins in the casserole dish and cover tightly with foil. Use a fork to dock the foil in several places, creating vents for steam to escape. Place the casserole in the oven.
- Peel back part of the foil. Pour very warm tap water into the casserole pan, until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Close the foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Release any steam by lifting the foil, then cover with foil again and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Lift the foil and check the puddings. Continue cooking (probably another 10 minutes or so, but check every 5 minutes) until the edges are dark brown and lightly set and the centers still look loose.
- Carefully remove the casserole pan from the oven. Remove the foil and discard. Let the puddings cool in the water bath until room temperature. Remove the ramekins from the cooled water and chill, uncovered, for at least one hour before serving, preferably more.
- Serve plain, or with fresh whipped cream, berries, or a few chocolate shavings.
The ingredients call for milk – can I use skim milk ? Thank you
Hi, there! Good question. I definitely recommend not using skim milk. The fat in whole milk helps give the recipe its creaminess. You could use 2% and still get a good result.
This recipe looks amazing!! Am going to try it this week. Was wondering if I could use 2 cups of heavy cream, rather than 1 cup heavy cream/1 cup milk. What do you think? Thank you!!
Hi! I think it could work, but might be a little too rich. You could substitute half and half, though.
OMG. This is one of the best chocolate desserts I have ever had in my life. I was definitely a little nervous about the process here, but they came out great. I suggest reading through the recipe in full before starting.
Thank you, Christine! So glad you love it. Yes, the water bath can be a little unfamiliar and tricky, but I am glad it came out well for you. And reading a recipe before starting is a great tip. I think it helps get your mental game plan together. Thanks again, and have a great weekend!
Wow!! This is one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve had in a while! I think it’s a little tough to tell when they’re done, but I cooked them for a full hour, and after I chilled them they were firm.
This is the best chocolate pudding I’ve ever had. Period.