Super chocolate-y, decadent pudding. Sure, you can serve it to the kids. If you can keep yourself from eating it all first.
This recipe was originally created for our Series of Unfortunate Recipes, based on the book and Netflix series by Lemony Snicket.
2 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2.5 - 3.5 ounces high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (60% - 70% cacao; see notes), cut into small pieces
Optional: whipped cream for serving
1. Warm 2 1/4 cups of the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat with the lid askew until steaming. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming (if it begins to, just whisk it back into the milk mixture and it should dissipate).
2. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup milk with the egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch and whisk to combine thoroughly.
3. Turn the heat under the milk to low, and temper the egg mixture with the hot milk like this: Add a few ladle-fuls of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking each addition in as it's added. When you've added enough milk to warm the egg mixture noticeably, pour the egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot milk, whisking as do.
4. Turn the heat to medium and whisk until the mixture thickens and just begins to boil (one bubble is enough). Turn the heat to low and whisk for another minute or so.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Reserve a few chocolate shavings to use as a garnish and stir the rest of the chocolate pieces into the pudding with a silicone spatula until the butter and chocolate have completely melted and become thoroughly combined with the pudding.
6. If you want to prevent a skin from forming, you have a couple of options:
Scoop it into a bowl or other container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the pudding; or
Scoop it into a bowl and drizzle a couple teaspoons of cream over the top, which you will stir into the pudding before serving; or
Put the lid on the pan, move it away from the stove, and allow the pudding to cool in the pan for up to an hour or so.
7. Serve at room temperature or chilled. A dollop of whipped cream is very nice on top, garnished with the reserved chocolate shavings.
Some notes on chocolate: I made this with a 3.5 ounce bar of Green & Black's bittersweet 70% cacao chocolate and it was sophisticated and delicious, with a deep chocolate flavor, enjoyed by my whole family and relished by my kids. If you prefer a lighter chocolate flavor, you could either use less chocolate, or switch to semisweet chocolate, or use chocolate with a lower percentage of cacao (or some combination of all three, to your taste).