Dear SOS: I recently dined at Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa and although the food was delicious, the budino di cioccolato (chocolate creme layered with caramel) was absolutely fabulous. With its creamy layers . . . it was the big star of the night. I would truly appreciate it if you could obtain the recipe for me. Thank you.
Dear Aurora: We loved the layered presentation of this chocolate and caramel custard. The creamy, sweet chocolate custard has a hint of orange, which pairs nicely with the rich, rum-scented caramel custard. Topped with freshly whipped cream and fresh summer berries, it makes for a striking dish.
Budino di cioccolato (Chocolate-caramel pudding) Total time: 40 minutes, plus chilling time Servings: 4 Note: Adapted from Pizzeria Ortica. Chocolate budino 3 egg yolks 3/4 pound milk chocolate, finely chopped 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon corn syrup Finely grated zest of 1/4 orange 1. Whisk together the egg yolks in a small bowl. Place the finely chopped chocolate in a large glass or plastic bowl. 2. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk, cream, corn syrup and orange zest. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. When it has come to a boil, remove from heat and whisk one-half cup of the milk mixture into the eggs. (This will warm, or "temper," the eggs.) 3. Stir the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with a wooden spoon and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, just until the mixture thickens to a custard and will coat the back of the spoon. Immediately remove from heat and strain the custard into the bowl containing the chocolate. 4. Quickly stir the custard with the chocolate until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Divide the custard between each of 4 individual serving bowls or glasses. Refrigerate the bowls, uncovered, until the custard is set (a pudding-like consistency), a couple of hours up to overnight. Caramel budino and final assembly 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/8 teaspoons sugar 1/4 cup water 3/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk Pinch of salt 1 egg 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 tablespoon dark rum 4prepared Chocolate budinos, chilled Whipped cream for garnish Fresh berries for garnish 1. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the sugar with the water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to cook until the sugar caramelizes to a rich golden color. Be careful not to overcook or the sugar will burn. 2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a boil. As soon as the sugar caramelizes, remove from heat. Immediately whisk the milk mixture into the caramel, but be very careful as the mixture will steam and this could burn. Once the mixture is smooth, stir in the salt and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. 3. While the caramel mixture is coming to a boil, whisk together the egg and cornstarch in a medium bowl, then whisk in the rum. When the caramel mixture has come to a boil, remove from heat and whisk one-half cup into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. 4. Whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens to a custard consistency, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and strain into a medium bowl. Remove the chilled chocolate custards from the refrigerator. 5. Gently pour the caramel custard evenly into the 4 chilled serving bowls, forming a layer over each of the chocolate custards. Refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled. 6. Serve each custard with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of fresh berries. Each serving: 840 calories; 14 grams protein; 73 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 55 grams fat; 33 grams saturated fat; 320 mg. cholesterol; 183 mg. sodium.