Back in the day, my mom would make pudding for dessert.
From a mix, but not instant, and she would stand over a pot at the stove stirring for what seemed like forever while the pudding gently came together.
My Aunt Buzz (my dad’s sister) did not care for cooking as much as my mom, and she did next to no stirring for her decidedly adult pudding – a rich chocolate mousse with added rum or brandy.
I’ve lost Buzz’s recipe, but da google has provided options, and this version seems to work the best.
Two important notes:
Do not double the recipe! One batch will fill most blenders, and doubling the recipe in one batch pretty mush guarantees a runny mousse that will only set up in the freezer. Not a bad option, but not the same as the silky, velvet of a true mousse. If you need more, simply make two batches.
If your mousse does not set up, as when I made a batch with these caramel sea salt chips I found at Trader Joe’s, you can still use it! You can freeze it and serve it as a kind of iced pudding, or drizzle it over your other mousse that did set up, as I did for this recent weekend gathering of friends.
•10 oz bag dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
•1 cup scalded milk*
•2 tbsp rum or brandy (optional)
•Grated orange zest
•1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
To scald milk, heat over low heat on top of the stove with the orange zest and espresso powder, if using, stirring often, until blended and the milk reads 180º on a thermometer.
Or, my preferred method, add the the milk and orange zest and instant espresso powder, if using, to a ‘wave safe bowl with a wooden chopstick or skewer inserted and push the 30 Second button.
Note: the chopstick or skewer, by breaking the surface of the milk, helps to keep it from “superheating” and blasting all over your ‘wave.
While the milk is in the wave, add the chips, sugar, and eggs to your blender and pulse until well chopped and blended.
When 30 seconds is up in the ‘wave, pull the container out and give it a stir, then back into the ‘wave for another 30 seconds.
Repeat this, stirring after each 30 seconds, until an instant read thermometer reads 180º – being careful that the sensor tip does not touch the bottom of the container, about three to four minutes.
Once the milk is properly scalded, with the blender running, pour the hot milk and the rum or brandy through the feed hole in the lid and process until smooth and creamy. It will fill most of the blender jar.
Now, you have a couple of choices. Aunt Buzz would pour her mousse into individual champagne coupes, cover with plastic wrap, and stash on a shelf in the fridge overnight for an elegant single-serve dessert.
I tumble my whole batch into one large container and chill overnight, then scoop it into bowls and top it with whipped cream.
Both excellent options, I think.