I serve this pudding warm, y’all, but it’s also super delicious served cold. When I was growing up, my mom was always baking in the kitchen, and on special occasions, she would make a chocolate–peanut butter pie with a coconut-and-pecan crust. (There used to be a box mix available at the grocery store for German chocolate cake icing that Mom used to create the piecrust out of, rather than adding the wet ingredients to make the icing. The mix has since been discontinued, and I’ve spent my whole career unsuccessfully trying to re-create that piecrust—I’m convinced Mom has a secret stash—but at least I’ve developed some of my favorite desserts in the pursuit.)
This pudding was my introduction to “cooked custards,” versus that instant stuff you mix with milk straight out of the box. My brother and sister—hell, even my dad—would fight over getting to lick the spoons and run their fingers around the pot to devour every single drop of that warm pudding.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepot set over medium-high heat, combine the cream, milk, vanilla pod, and vanilla seeds. Bring to a scald (you will see bubbles around the perimeter of the liquid and a wisp of steam from the surface), then remove from the heat. Start streaming a small amount of the hot dairy into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Continue whisking in the milk mixture until most of the liquid has been incorporated into the eggs. Pour the mixture in the bowl into the saucepot and place the pot over medium-high heat, again whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter and chocolate; discard the vanilla pod.
- Transfer the pudding to four bowls and serve warm. The pudding can also be refrigerated in the pan for up to 2 days and slowly reheated over medium heat, stirring constantly, until warm.
Reprinted with permission from The Good Book of Southern Baking by Kelly Fields with Kate Heddings, copyright (c) 2020. Published by Lorena Jones Books, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Photographs copyright © Oriana Koren