Chocolate pudding with pretzel crunch
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Makes: 6 servings
For a story on using pretzels in desserts, Chicago-based freelance food writer Lisa Futterman created a pretzel brittle to bring salty sweet crunch to homemade chocolate pudding.
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon cognac, brandy or dark rum
1 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks, chilled
Pretzel crunch, see recipe below
1. Heat 1 3/4 cups milk, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Off heat, stir in the chocolate and butter until chocolate is melted and the mixture looks smooth.
2. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch in a small bowl; stir to blend. Gradually stir into chocolate mixture; return mixture to medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and boiling, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture to the yolks while stirring vigorously. Repeat three times. This will temper the egg yolks. Stir yolk mixture into chocolate mixture; add vanilla, whisking until smooth. Place in a bowl, with plastic wrap directly on the surface; chill in refrigerator, 2-3 hours or overnight.
4. To serve, spoon the pudding into six dessert bowls, layering in the crunch . Top with whipped cream and more crunch.
Combine 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan. Heat to a boil over high heat; cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to caramelize. Swirl the pan carefully until the syrup looks amber, like maple syrup, about 15 minutes. Carefully add 2 cups salted pretzels (sticks, rings or twists), lightly broken, off the heat; pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spreading as thin as possible. Allow to cool at room temperature, then break into pieces.