I love pudding. Just adore it. It’s one of those comfort food-ish types of desserts, and perhaps surprisingly, it’s not that hard to make and can take just as much time as, well… making pudding from a Jello pudding mix. Really! Sure, I have memories of being an experimental baker as a teen and pretty near burning out the bottom of one of my mother’s pots because I didn’t know how far to take the ‘boiling’ of the milk mixture while cooking it, so there is a little trial-and-error. Once you ace it, however, you shouldn’t have much trouble making it again – and you can toss those little Jello mixes away (not that I am dissing Jello pudding mix, mind you – it has its purpose from time to time!).
All of that being said, I was pretty delighted with this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings assignment – a luxurious double-layered (pudding) treat called Vanilla Bean and Milk Chocolate Budino. I parenthesize the word “pudding” as, according to (what I assume is) Matt Lewis’s preface to this recipe, “budino” is a very Italian and somewhat fancier way of saying “pudding”. Out of deference to certain members of Matt’s family, he refers to this dessert as a ‘budino’ and as a *wink wink nudge nudge* suggestion, mentions that “if anybody asks, this is a budino, not a pudding”.
While many puddings (er, budino) are typically made with a mixture of milk and eggs and/or egg yolks, this recipe bumps things up a little notch and also incorporates both eggs and egg yolks with cornstarch for thickening, and some heavy cream for richness and denseness. I would strongly suggest removing that yucky chalazae attached to your egg yolks when making this, as the last thing you want are any lumps of chewy cooked egg in your smooth budino (see my thoughts on this in prior blogs).
Splitting the cooked custard up into two flavors is a wonderful idea. While I know many of you out there may be hesitant to use the bourbon in the vanilla bean portion, I would suggest you give it a try. Even if you do not like booze too much, the bourbon heightens the toasty vanilla notes in the vanilla bean. Milk chocolate is definitely the idea companion here; like Matt, while I am a huge dark chocolate aficionado and think it may work just as well for the chocolate pudding (errrr…. budino) portion of this recipe, the milk chocolate is a nice, smooth pairing for the vanilla portion.
One suggestion I have when making this particular recipe is to have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go before you start. While this is a good rule of thumb for most baking, you will find with this recipe that you’ll be using many heatproof bowls and many spatulas and whisks to cook and put it all together, and having these utensils at the ready will put you greatly ahead of the game. Be careful and gentle when streaming your hot milk/cornstarch/sugar mixture into your eggs/cream mixture, whisking vigorously as you pour, so you quickly temper and do not scramble your eggs. I find pouring from a somewhat higher angle sometimes produces a nice thin stream into the eggs.
I was happy to use the cute little glass dessert dishes I inherited from my grandmother to serve up this budino. There is no great trick to the layering of the puddings (Drat! Budino!), as the vanilla sets up rather quickly after 20 minutes in the fridge. Carefully spoon the chocolate layer over. If you like a thick skin to develop on top – some folks do! – tightly cover the budino with plastic wrap, not touching the surface. If you’re in the no-skin camp like yours truly, simple loosen the plastic enough to press it lightly onto the surface of the budino. Don’t worry about ruining the ‘design’ of the top… if you cover it with a decorative piping or dollop of lightly sweetened whipped like I have, no worries!
Relish the smooth, creamy, delicious comfort of your own budino today by following this link:
You’ll find this a wonderful dessert for a small dinner party or gathering. It makes 8 perfect portions that are visually appealing and most importantly, they satisfy fans of vanilla and chocolate in a pleasing combination. The lovely ‘surprise’ of the vanilla speckled budino tucked beneath the smooth chocolate may just provide a nice ‘a-ha!’ moment among your guests – or even just yourself. Enjoy it.
Next week: Honey Banana Poppy Seed Bread