After a big and rich holiday dinner, it's nice to have something that is light and sweet. The answer is this delicious homemade chocolate pudding. Do it all ahead and then glitz it up for your guests.
Smitten Kitchen's Best Chocolate Pudding
Serves 6 to 7
1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups (710 ml) whole milk
6 ounces (170 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 cup good chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, Slowly whisk in the milk, in a thin steam at first so that lumps don’t form, then more quickly once the cornstarch mixture is smoothly incorporated. Place over medium-low heat and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 10 minutes or so (slower over lower heat is better, to give the cornstarch time to cook), before it starts to simmer, the mixture should begin to thicken, enough that it will coat the back of a spoon. Add the chocolate, and continue stirring for another 2 to 4 minutes, until chocolate is fully incorporated and mixture is quite thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
If you’re concerned about lumps: Run mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.
Distribute among individual pudding cups or one large serving bowl, and chill until it is cool and set, about 2 to 3 hours.
If you dislike pudding skin: Put plastic on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating.
Do ahead: Pudding is good for 3 days in the fridge but nobody I know would allow it to last that long.