Chef Alex Saggiomo would never deny having a sweet tooth. Here’s his classic homemade chocolate pudding recipe.
Growing up, eating dinner was really just something I had to do in order to get to dessert. My mother, an amazing cook in her own right, would prepare everything from beautifully roast chicken to perfectly seared shrimp, but at the end of the day, it was that final sweet treat that motivated me to get through my portion of vegetables (side note to childhood Alex: you will learn to love vegetables, I promise).
As a kid, something about a pudding cup always felt incredibly indulgent—a personally portioned dessert just for me?! I’ll take two! (Seriously, two minimum.) As a chef, it’s still the simple things that make my heart swell. I hope this recipe provides you the same sense of nostalgia—and bonus, you don’t need to wait until after dinner to eat it!
Chocolate Pudding Recipe
1½ cups half-and-half
1¾ cups heavy cream
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp kosher salt
Whipped cream and chocolate shavings for serving, optional
In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half and the heavy cream and scald over medium-high heat (you’ll start to see bubbles form around the edge of the pan, but the liquid is not boiling). Fill a separate saucepan a third of the way full with water, and heat until it is barely simmering. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, set the bowl over the water, and heat, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the melted chocolate and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the sugar. Slowly pour the hot cream-chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture a little at a time, whisking constantly (this is called tempering the eggs, and will make sure they don’t scramble when added to the hot liquid).
When all of the cream-chocolate mixture has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl into the saucepan. Return the pan to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a spatula and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan often to prevent scorching for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon (to test, draw your finger along the back of the spoon, the custard should hold the trail for a couple of seconds before it fills). First the mixture will be liquid and loose and then become thicker at the bottom of the pan. As it thickens, it will start to let off a little steam.
When the pudding is ready, immediately strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until cold. The pudding can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Just before serving, stir up the pudding to smooth it out. Spoon into dessert bowls and garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (if using).