Total Time: 4 hr 20 min
Prep: 5 min
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 cups whole milk, divided
- 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 fine salt
- 3/4 cup whipping cream, for garnish (optional, and kind of a pain, but impresses people, if that’s your aim. kids sure aren’t gonna want to wait around for your fussiness. just give ’em the damn pudding already.)
Before doing anything, get the egg yolks in order. If you do this during the milk simmering part, you’ll have a problem stirring the cocoa in. Because the cocoa is super awesome to play with as you stir it in. Because the air bubbles get coated in cocoa and then you can play with them for ages.
Put 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and the cocoa in a saucepan that won’t turn any of the listed ingredients into an alternate form of itself. So, like, a nice enamel saucepan that you got at the discount store when you were poor and had no money that just happens to be one of the most-used and useful items in your adult arsenal of fancy pans. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from 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. 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 a hand-held mixer, and continue beating until soft peaks form. Take care not to over-beat the cream or it will be grainy. Serve each pudding with a dollop of whipped cream on top.