The art of doing nothing. It's a nice concept isn't it? I never thought much about this until recently. I have been busy beyond belief for a while now. So much so that little things are really getting to me. It's the whole "having to do" certain things throughout the day. I feel a little over committed, over worked, over hobbied (is that a word?)...over everything. And I'm so over it. I'm finding it difficult to even make time to grab lunch with a friend, or visit for a while. It's becoming just another thing I have to fit in and I really don't like it. I feel the need to step back and breathe deeply. You know you need a time out when the things you want to do become the things you "have" to do. I need to create some simplicity in my life.
The art of nothingness. You know what popped up on my computer this morning? Two lovely words. "Free today". Just seeing the words calmed me. The fact that it's not true (we have a showing on our house today at 2pm) doesn't even matter because it's only one extra thing. I feel light. It was like this last Sunday too. I was free with no obligations and could do whatever I wanted. So, naturally I made pudding. It was perfect really. Pudding is un-complicated and un-fussy. I am craving simplicity and pudding is about as simple as it gets. Pudding was very symbolic that day. It's also very underrated. Let me be clear about something I believe whole heartedly. Simple is not the same as "easy" or "plain". Some of the most wonderful things in life are beautifully simple and chocolate pudding is one of them.
This particular pudding is rich, with a velvety mouth feel. It is made with both cornstarch and egg yolks so the texture is spot on. It takes only a few minutes to prepare and after it has chilled and has been topped sweetened, soft whipped cream it's a stunner. Putting chocolate and cream together is nothing new but it sends me in a way that nothing else can. I also see it as being terribly romantic and nostalgic. I see it as something Elvis would have eaten back in 1955 in Tennessee with Priscilla by his side, singing "I can't help falling in love with you" between spoonfuls. Am I weird for making up food stories about people like that? I don't care. Simple. Nostalgic. Iconic. Comfort food. These are the words that describe this pudding. Those are the words that describe Elvis too, so really, I'm not that far off if you think about it. Ok, maybe that's a stretch. Just go with it, will you?
Take note that the pudding will have to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours so plan ahead.
adapted from "Tyler's Ultimate", Tyler Florence
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whipping cream
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Put 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and the cocoa in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more.
Pour the pudding into 6 small cups or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight until set.
Just before serving pour the cream into a chilled bowl. Whip the cream with a whisk or hand held mixer and continue beating until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar to desired sweetness and beat in. Take care not to over-beat the cream or it will be grainy. Serve each pudding with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Meanwhile, I have just challenged my friend to a spinach artichoke dip throw-down. Yeah. Stay tuned for that.