There's no shortage of delicious recipes to make with dark chocolate but sometimes you want to go with something simple, creamy, and comforting. This dark chocolate pudding is perfect because it uses a few simple ingredients and only a little cooking time to get a smooth and luxurious pudding that is stored in the refrigerator for a few days if you want to make it ahead of time.
What’s the best chocolate to use?
The best way to select chocolate is to taste it plain. A chocolate’s flavor won’t change when you bake or cook with it, so be sure you find one that tastes good right out of hand.
Some easy things to notice when choosing chocolate are the appearance and aroma. Is the chocolate evenly colored and shiny? Does it smell rich and flavorful? When you break the chocolate, does it snap firmly and cleanly? When you taste it, is it smooth, creamy, and does it melt in your mouth? The flavor itself should be generally pleasing and harmonious.
I like to use a dark or bittersweet (60-72%) chocolate for this pudding, but semisweet will also work here. The difference between these two dark chocolates is that more sugar is added to the semisweet. One thing to avoid is chocolate chips as in this kind of recipe, they won't have the cooking time to melt properly. That means you'll get little lumps of chocolate in the pudding. I prefer the chocolate pudding to be smooth so I never use chips in it.
One confusing detail when it comes to buying chocolate is the percentage of chocolate on a label, often called “X% of cocoa. What they’re actually referring to is the total percentage by weight of cocoa solids and cocoa butter combined, in other words, the total percentage of ingredients derived purely from the cocoa bean. As the cacao percentage increases, the chocolate itself will taste more intensely chocolatey and less sweet. A bar of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate marked 55% cacao therefore contains 45% sugar, while a bar labeled 70% cacao contains 30% sugar.
What happens if you get a lumpy pudding?
Occasionally when I've made the dark chocolate pudding, there are little lumps in it. This usually comes from the egg yolks and cornstarch causing tiny clumps. But if you notice lumps that aren't stirring away, then it is simply a case of putting the mix through a fine-mesh strainer before you add it to the ramekins. This will remove the lumps and leave you with a velvety smooth pudding mixture.
You can also strain it if you feel like the mixture isn't as smooth as you would like. Sometimes, the chocolate doesn't entirely melt so this step will fix that.
What you need to make Dark Chocolate Pudding
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Whole milk
- Granulated sugar
- Large egg
- Large egg yolks
- Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Whipped cream, for serving
How to make the recipe
In a small mixing dish, whisk together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and ¼ cup of the sugar until well combined. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolks; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups milk, the remaining ¼ cup sugar, and the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved, usually about 2 minutes.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
Whisk the pudding mixture into the eggs at around 1 cup a time and ensure it is well blended. Scape the mixture back into the saucepan then cook the pudding over a medium heat until it comes to the boil, making sure you keep stirring it. This usually takes about 2 minutes then remove the pan from the heat.
Melt the chocolate with the remaining milk, butter, and vanilla, stirring until it is smooth then mix into the pudding.
Add the pudding mixture to 6-oz ramekins and refrigerate until chilled. If you want to serve them quicker, add some plastic wrap directly to the surface of the pudding while still in the bowl and pop it in the refrigerator. This lets it cool rapidly but stops a crust from forming on the mixture, as it would if you didn't add the plastic wrap.
Once chilled, serve with lightly whipped cream.
Storing the recipe
Once you have chilled the recipe, keep any that are uneaten in the refrigerator where they will store for 4 days. It isn't the best recipe to freeze as the cornstarch doesn't do well at low temperatures and the consistency of the pudding will change.
Some people like to omit the cornstarch and you can but the recipe won't be as thick and creamy if you do. The egg yolks will work to thicken it so it will be a similar result but I always find adding the cornstarch is an important step.
For a healthier option for a topping, use some whipped ricotta in place of the whipped cream.
Dark Chocolate Pudding
- 3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 Tbs. cornstarch
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 2 ¼ cups whole milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter cut into pieces
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Whipped cream for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and ¼ cup of the sugar until blended; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolks; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk, the remaining ¼ cup sugar, and the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the cocoa mixture until blended. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot pudding into the eggs until well blended, then scrape this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the pudding over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it just comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Melt the chocolate with the butter, vanilla and remaining ¼ cup of milk, stirring until smooth. Add to the pudding and stir until well blended. Transfer the pudding to 6-oz. ramekins and refrigerate until chilled. (If you're not in a hurry, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding in the bowl and refrigerate.) Serve with lightly whipped cream.