You know that kind of hot chocolate that’s super thick and dark and, well, ridiculously delicious? I love it. And lucky for me there is a hot chocolate festival going on right now. It is exactly this thick, European-style drinking chocolate. Except they are brilliant and take it a step further, because the festival has a new flavor every day for the entire month. It is, of course, perfect for this time of year, being piping hot, with wintery flavors and so satisfying. I go everyday. It is not good for me.
So, of course, I needed to figure out how to make that kind of chocolate satisfaction at home. The hot chocolate festival was my inspiration. What I did, though, was refrigerate it, turn it snack-like (less of an indulgence, if you will), and add my own summer-like (even though oranges are at their peak in the winter – am I the only one that thinks that’s odd?! let’s discuss this at another time) flavorings.
Call it wishful thinking for a cold, summer-like dessert, or call it practical for someone who no longer needs any more winter of indulgence. It doesn’t matter. All you really need to know is that it only takes 20 minutes to make this super comforting dessert. So, go on. Have it warm, and call it weather-appropriate! Chill it and, you know, call it pudding. Either way, you will be glad you did.
Dark Chocolate Orange Pudding (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces bittersweet (between 65 and 75%) chocolate, coarsely chopped
zest of 1 orange
Stir together the cornstarch, sugar, salt and orange zest in a medium saucepan. Slowly pour in the milk in a thin steam, whisking as you pour, so that lumps don’t form. Mix until fully incorporated. Place over low heat and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary if lumps begin to form. After about 20 minutes or so, just before it starts to simmer, the mixture should begin to thicken, enough that it will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add the chocolate, and continue stirring for another 4-5 minutes, until chocolate is fully incorporated, there are no bits of chocolate left, and mixture is quite thick. Remove from heat and run mixture through a fine strainer.
Distribute among individual pudding cups or one large serving bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. If you don’t like the skin that forms on a pudding, place the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. If you like it, loosely cover the container. Place in refrigerator and chill until it is cool and set, about 2 to 3 hours. The orange flavor develops more as the pudding sits.