Chosen Bites: Chocolate for the passionate

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, you can't go wrong with a delicious chocolate pudding.

chocolate pudding 390 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
chocolate pudding 390
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Every February 14, love struck men and women all over the world spend over a billion dollars on chocolate.
Our infatuation with chocolate first began 2,000 years ago when it was discovered in Latin America. The Maya and Aztec elites infused cocoa beans with water to form frothy chocolate drinks for special occasions and as sacrifices to the gods.
The Aztec ruler Montezuma believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac and routinely drank it before entering his harem, thus increasing chocolate’s popularity and its association with love and romance.
Modern-day scientists have linked the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate to feelings of excitement, attraction and even pleasure.
Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, it is hard to deny that many of us are passionate about chocolate. There area lot of chocolates available in stores and online. The best chocolates have a high cocoa content or cocoa mass and very few other ingredients.
Easy dark chocolate pudding
Homemade pudding has a sensuous and silky texture that cannot be equaled in purchased pudding. Simple and yet sophisticated when made with high quality chocolate, pudding can be dressed up or down depending upon the occasion.
I like to place bowls of condiments such as chopped nuts, shaved white chocolate, fresh fruit for adults and bring out the candies, marshmallows and pretzels for kids and let everyone customize their own.
Chocolate pudding can be made up to two days ahead of serving, can be stored, and covered on the surface of the pudding, in the refrigerator. Covering the pudding on the surface will keep a “skin” from forming.
2/3 cup sugar1/4 cup cornstarch1/2 teaspoon salt4 large egg yolks2 3/4 cups whole milk1/4 cup strong coffee7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), melted (I use Callebaut 70%)2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened2 teaspoons vanilla extractPinch of salt
1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks in a 3-quart heavy saucepan until combined well, then add the milk, continuously whisking. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking, 1 minute (filling will be thick).
2. Push the filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in chocolates, butter, and vanilla.
3. Cover surface of filling with a buttered round of parchment paper and cool completely, about two hours.