Yes, sadly enough, this is my favorite kind of chocolate pudding. I looked at the list of ingredients, and it's pretty much just cocoa, chocolate, carageenen, and some other flavorings and stabilizers. Not all-natural, but not that scary, either. You add your own sugar and milk (and I usually throw in a square or two of chocolate) and cook it up. I made this several times in the camper this summer, and it was delightful--chocolatey without making you feel like your arteries needed a Roto-rooter.
Now Maida's pudding, on the other hand, involves two kinds of chocolate, cocoa, cornstarch *and* eggs/yolks for thickening, and butter. It's pudding that's moving into pots de crème territory. And for me (and for Claire), that's just a bit too much.
As I write this, I know that when Alicia finally makes this recipe in December or something, she will swoon over it and tell us it's the best pudding ever. Whatever--I'll probably still have some sitting in my fridge. It's been two days now and I haven't been able to eat my way through one custard cup of it.
I'm equally sure that Alicia will tell me that I did something wrong to get the results I got. And I will admit to two issues--well, maybe two and a half. The first was that the semisweet chocolate I used was too strong--that 72% Trader Joe's bar that will not be used up. I upped the sugar a bit to compensate, but it really wasn't enough. The half problem may be that I didn't chop the chocolate well enough before I put it with the milk. The chocolate never really incorporated into the milk, and I now have tiny chocolate chips in my pudding.
The next problem was that after I had done the cornstarch and the eggs and all, I forgot about adding the butter and vanilla until after I'd already poured the pudding into cups.
Never fear--I just put little lumps of butter and a splash of vanilla into each cup and stirred it until melted. Except that there's now congealed butter on the side of each cup. Yuck.
Here's Claire's pudding, with powdered sugar on top. Still, she took two bites and put it back. "Too rich" was her verdict. Now Claire is not a big lover of rich desserts--she'd rather eat ice cream. But I agree with her. The awesome homemade applesauce I also made yesterday--that's something we both can't get enough of!
But if you love super-rich pudding and doing lots of dishes, here's a recipe for you:
American Chocolate Pudding
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
2 T. cornstarch
3 T. cocoa
4 oz. (1/2 c. + 1 T.) sugar
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 oz. semisweet chocolate (I would stay at 60% cacao or under for this)
2-1/4 c. milk (I used whole; 2% would probably also be fine)
2 T. butter, cut into pieces
1 t. vanilla
(1 T. rum--this might be a nice addition to cut the sweetness. I forgot about this in my flustered state of mind)
Get out a saucepan, two medium sized mixing bowls, and an assortment of custard cups or whatever you're going to serve this in. I used 5 Pyrex custard cups because that's what was clean and available. Put your eggs in one mixing bowl and beat them to mix. Strain the cornstarch, cocoa, salt, and 2 oz. sugar into another mixing bowl, and whisk that together with 1/4 c. milk. Put the chocolate, 2 c. milk, and 2 oz. sugar in the saucepan, and heat to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Maida says the flecks of chocolate will disappear as the milk heats, but this never happened to me. Maybe I was too afraid of the chocolate burning. When the milk has reached this stage, pour some of it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking as you pour. Then pour the cornstarch mixture back into the saucepan. Place back over medium heat and bring to a low boil, stirring and scraping with a heatproof rubber spatula. Turn down the heat and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Then get your bowl with the eggs and basically do the same thing with that: add some hot chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisk that, then add back to the saucepan and cook over low heat for another couple of minutes, stirring and scraping and being sure to keep it from boiling and scrambling. Now take it off the heat and ADD THE BUTTER AND VANILLA (and rum, if you want) before spooning it into the cups. Cover each cup with plastic or waxed paper, to avoid skin, and refrigerate. (There seems to be a movement for skin on pudding. David Lebovitz says there's no point in making pudding if you don't like the skin. Whatever.) After you've returned from a 2-hour hike, you may be ready for this.
Or see if you can find some nice Dr. Oetker pudding mix.