Monday, March 15, 2010

Split Level Pudding

For our second BWD: Baking with Dorie Challenge, it was my pick once again and I decided on Split Level Pudding on Page 384 and 385 in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours .

I found it quite hard trying to decide which recipe we should make next since everything in the book looks and sounds so delicious. I finally settled on the Split Level Pudding and was really looking forward to this recipe. I have been baking up a storm lately so making a pudding appealed more to me. Plus, pudding had been a childhood favorite of mine, and a good homemade one always brings back fond memories.

The ingredients of the pudding were straight forward with most of the items already in my pantry and refrigerator. Unfortunately, I found the process of making the recipe nothing short of complicated and I have made quite a few puddings in my life. Growing up in Germany we didn't have Jell-o type puddings and everything was the kind you had to cook. Most of those were a pre-mixed cornstarch powder which you added sugar and a little milk to form a paste which in turn was added to boiling milk. So when this version called for the food processor I should have been leery and followed my instincts. However, I did  follow the recipe almost exactly to the very end which is when I decided the mixture wasn't going back into the food processor and I used a whisk to add the butter and vanilla.

While the pudding was delicious, creamy and eaten by everyone in the house, there are a few things I would change if I made this pudding again. I would leave my food processor alone and  sift the cornstarch and salt, then add the sugar and egg yolks and give it a good whisking. Also instead of slowly adding the hot milk/sugar mixture to the other ingredients in the food processor, I think you can just add the cornstarch mixture slowly to the hot milk while whisking until everything comes to a boil.
The pudding says it makes 6 servings but even with small 6 ounce ramekins I found it to only make 5 portions unless you want to have very very thin layers.

It is a great pudding especially if you try to appeal to both chocolate and vanilla lovers. The texture is smooth and the pudding is creamy. The chocolate layer calls for bittersweet chocolate but I could see this with anything from milk to semi-sweet chocolate. And as far as flavoring the custard part I guess the sky is the limit and most flavors from coffee to almond or coconut would work as well as the vanilla. I will make this pudding again, but next time I will try my simplified method.

Check out Grapefruit's and Elizabeth's pages to see what they thought about this pudding and what new and interesting things they came up with.

For our next BWD in two weeks (the 29th of March) it is Grapefruit's pick with Gingered Carrot Cookies on Page 162. So if any of this has peeked your interest and you want to join the fun with us next time, just shoot me or Grapefruit an email and we'd be more than happy to have you.

Split-Level Pudding
~Makes 6 Servings~

For the chocolate layer:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the vanilla layer:
2 1/4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chocolate shavings for decoration (optional)

Getting ready:
Have six ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 4 to 6 ounces, (1/2 to 3/4 cup), at hand.

To make the chocolate layer:
Put the chocolate in a 1- or 2-cup glass measuring cup. Bring the heavy cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds, then gently stir to blend. Divide the chocolate ganache among the cups and set aside.

To make the vanilla layer:
Bring 2-cups of the milk and 3 tablespoons of the sugar to a boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. While the milk is heating, put the cornstarch and salt into a food processor and whir to blend. Turn them out onto a piece of wax paper, put the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the egg yolks into the processor and blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and pulse just to mix, then add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to blend.
With the machine running, very slowly pour in the hot milk mixture. Process for a few seconds, then pour everything back into the saucepan. Whisk without stopping over medium heat - making sure to get into the edges of the pan - until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles burble up to the surface and pop (about 2 minutes). you don't want the pudding to boil, but you do want it to thicken, so lower the heat, if necessary.
Scrape the pudding back into the processor (if there's a scorched spot, avoid it as your scrape) and pulse a couple of times. Add the butter and vanilla and pulse until everything is evenly blended.  
Pour the pudding into the cups - depending on how warm the chocolate ganache in the bottom of the cups was, you might find that it runs up the sides of the cups and forms a lacy circle around the pudding. If it does, it's pretty; if it doesn't, the chocolate will be a surprise. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding to create an airtight seal and prevent a skin from forming.
Refrigerate the puddings for at least 4 hours.
If you'd like, scatter chocolate shaving over the tops of the puddings just before serving.

Adapted from: Dorie Greenspan


  1. I just posted my entry on this recipe and waited to read your blog until now. I agree with you about the food processor! To be honest, I skipped this step completely! :)

  2. it was so good mama can you make me more

  3. You guys are both right about the processor - I'll definitely skip next time. It was too much of a bother and my pudding seemed smooth enough before I processed it the last time.

    Your pudding looks great. I can see we both did the chocolate shavings! ;-)


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