This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Melissa of It's Melissa's Kitchen: Chocolate Pudding. I've never made pudding before, but gather that Dorie's use of the food processor isn't typical of most pudding recipes. Dorie states that using the food processor is "unorthodox but highly effective." It gets rid of any lumps the pudding might otherwise have, and also incorporates air into the pudding, giving it a "slightly lighter and noticeably more velvety texture."
After this week's recipe was announced, Kim pointed out that Dorie had already posted the recipe online. When I went to Dorie's blog to check it out, I noticed that she also referred to a Gianduja, or chocolate and hazelnut, pudding that was adapted from her chocolate pudding recipe. I had some hazelnuts in my pantry, so I promptly decided that I was going to make a chocolate hazelnut pudding instead of the traditional chocolate pudding.
The recipe calls for grinding the hazelnuts in your food processor, boiling the hazelnut meal in whole milk, and then straining the mixture into the eggs. While I tried to grind the hazelnuts as finely as possible and used a very fine meshed sieve to strain the mixture, I still ended up with tiny bits of hazelnut in my pudding... that's why my pudding looks a bit lumpy in all the photos and not velvety smooth. Aesthetics aside, this pudding was very rich, chocolately, and delicious! I like to think the photo below looks like a chocolate colored rose... my husband, on the other hand, said it looked like poo! Ha!
The recipe was fairly straightforward, though I had to work in batches since I don't have a large food processor. Others who were without food processors noted that they were able to make this in their KitchenAid Mixer using the whire whip. The only problem I had with the recipe was towards the end when you're heating it all up and waiting for it to thicken. I did not see that Dorie's instructions were to heat it over medium heat and simply followed the instructions on the adapted recipe (below) and had it on medium-low heat. After 7 minutes, my pudding still hadn't thickened up so I turned it up to medium. Once it was on medium heat, it took about 6 minutes to thicken. The whole process was very similar to making the pastry cream (just with fewer yolks), where you stir and stir and stir until all of a sudden - bam! Like magic, it suddenly becomes thick and creamy.
This is an extremely rich dessert, and I could only eat a few spoonfuls at a time. The hazelnut flavor was lovely, though I'm not sure how pronounced (or subtle) it would be if you made it as written -- I also used a hazelnut chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate to flavor it. Will I make this again? Probably not, just because I'd rather save the calories for other sweets. I find that the fat free store bought pudding is just as good; though I would certainly consider making this again if I wanted a simple indulgence.
based on Dorie's recipe for Chocolate Pudding in Baking: From My Home to Yours
adapted by Sara Dickerman as seen on the NY Times
1 ½ cups hazelnuts
6 tablespoons sugar
2 ½ cups whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut Gianduja chocolate)
2 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon Frangelico liqueur or vanilla (I used vanilla)
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Immediately rub the hazelnuts between the folds of a clean kitchen towel to remove their skins (I simply rubbed them between my fingers - most came off easily but I did have to scrape a few stubborn ones with a paring knife), then transfer them to a food processor along with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Pulse until finely chopped. Wipe the food processor clean.
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 ¼ cups of the milk and the nut mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan and keep warm.
In the food processor, blend the cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt and transfer it to a bowl. Blend the egg, the yolks and the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar for 1 minute. Add the remaining ¼ cup milk and pulse to blend, then add the cocoa mixture and pulse again. Leave the mixture in the food processor.
Strain the milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing firmly to extract the liquid. Discard the nuts. Wipe the saucepan clean.
With the food processor running, add the hot hazelnut milk in a thin, steady stream. Return the mixture to the saucepan, set over medium-low heat (I would recommend doing this at medium heat) and whisk without stopping, scraping the corners of the pan occasionally, until the pudding thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. (If the pudding clumps, do not panic. It will smooth out later.)
Transfer the pudding minus any scorched bits to the processor.
Pulse to blend. Add the melted chocolate and frangelico, and pulse again. Pour the pudding into a 1-quart dish, press a sheet of parchment (I used plastic wrap) on the pudding’s surface and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Scoop into small bowls.
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings.
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