Salted Dark Chocolate Pudding

Salted Dark Chocolate Pudding
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salted dark chocolate pudding
Smooth. Chocolate.

We’ve just finished looking through the book Ovenly, by Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga, and knew we’d want to try out something. Almost always, we like to start with something simple to make, but which sounds decadent. In this case, we chose their version of a dark chocolate pudding to have as a dessert. Naturally, we put our own little twist on it — just to make the pudding a bit creamier — as you’ll see if you compare our recipe with theirs.

The other thing we did was include (almost) all the measurements by weight. It’s a lot easier (and easier to clean up afterwards) just to measure directly into the pan set on a scale. Try it, and you’ll never go back to those measuring cups.

Now, for those people who buy the little packets of pudding to cook up on the stove, you know that’s nothing but sugar, cornstarch, flavoring, and chemicals, right? Just like we have in this pudding. Save yourself some money while making a better pudding by starting from scratch. It’s no more difficult.

Salted Dark Chocolate Pudding

Yield: Six 3-1/2 ounce servings

Salted Dark Chocolate Pudding


  • 1/4 cup (60 g) milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbs (25 g) cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cup (420 g) milk
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 2 ounces (60 g) dark chocolate
  • 3 Tbs (20 g) Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp (5 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp (4 g) sea salt
  • 2 tsp (10 g) unsalted butter, for finishing

Abbreviated Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup milk and cornstarch. Set aside.

Place remaining ingredients, except butter, into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, until chocolate has melted.

Re-whisk and add milk and cornstarch mixture.

Continue cooking, stirring continuously, until pudding thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add butter and stir until melted in. Cook an additional 2 minutes.

Divide pudding among 6 ramekins. Top each with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface.

Refrigerate until completely cold.

Ingredient discussion:

Obviously, the key here is the chocolate and cocoa, so use the best you can afford. It makes a difference. We use Callebaut 70% cacao chocolate and Valrhona Dutch-processed cocoa. So what is Dutch-processed cocoa and why use that? Dutch-processed cocoa is treated with an alkali to remove bitterness and bring out chocolate flavor. It’s often very dark brown, and very, very, chocolatey. For the vanilla, there’s only pure, natural vanilla. Anything else is suspect. Finally, the addition of the butter at the end is our little secret for making puddings taste super-creamy. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.

Procedure in detail:

milk and cornstarch
Whisk the cornstarch and milk together when you first mix them, then again when it’s time to add it to the pudding.

Whisk cornstarch and milk. In a small bowl — we use a measuring cup with a spout — whisk together the cornstarch and milk until smooth. Set it aside while you measure everything else.

chocolate pudding ingredients
Just put the ingredients all in at once, except the butter for finishing, of course.

Measure everything. In a medium saucepan, combine all the remaining ingredients except the butter. If you have a scale, you can just measure one right after the other, taring the scale (resetting to 0) in between additions.

Heat. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir until the chocolate melts, about 5 minutes. During this time,  mash any cocoa lumps so they get incorporated, too.

adding milk and cornstarch to pudding
By mixing a bit of milk with the cornstarch first, you’re unlikely to cause lumping when you add it to the hot liquid.

Add milk and cornstarch. Remember that milk and cornstarch mixture? Well, now’s the time to add it, but before you do, give it a quick whisking in case the cornstarch settled out. Then pour it right into the saucepan.

Cook. Continue cooking the pudding on medium, stirring all the while, until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. It’ll get as thick as pudding, which means it’ll coat a spoon when the spoon is removed.

adding butter
Once the pudding thickens, finish with butter for a smoother, creamier dessert.

Add butter. Twist! Add that bit of butter and stir until it’s completely mixed in. A bit of butter will give your pudding a nice creamy texture. Then cook the pudding another 2 minutes, still stirring, to ensure that the cornstarch has finished its job of thickening.

ramekins full of pudding
Six 3.5 ounce ramekins were perfect for this amount of pudding recipe. It filled them with a spoonful left, for the chef, of course.
puddings set for the refrigerator
If you don’t like the skin that forms on pudding, press a bit of plastic wrap right onto the surface. It’ll keep the air out and prevent pudding skin.

Divide. Pour the pudding into small ramekins or custard cups, taking care not to short anyone’s serving. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of each pudding (to prevent skin from forming).

Serve. Serve the pudding in the ramekins with a small spoon.

We had this as dessert on Sunday night and we have to say that we were underwhelmed. It’s an okay pudding — better than the box mixes, for sure — but it’s not great. The salt is really a distraction, and, if anything, it makes it taste more like a mix, obscuring some of the chocolate flavor. If you really want to try it, we’d strongly suggest that you put a sprinkle of salt on the pudding right before serving. That would form a nice contrast. Adding the bit of butter did help make this smoother, but it in no way compares to chocolate pudding made with egg yolk. That is a great pudding. We’ll say three stars.

Worth the trouble?

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