Warm Chocolate-Rum Pudding

I used to hate chocolate. I mean, sure, I loved my candy bars and can't remember ever turning down a brownie as a kid, but I was a vanilla ice cream, vanilla cake, white chocolate kind of girl. I even preferred these off-brand, potentially expensive (since we only got them once in a blue moon) white chocolate peanut butter cups over the Real Deal - you see, I was always a strange one when it came to food, I guess. Then, something happened. I can't remember exactly what it was, but I'm almost positive it started with the first bite of The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake in the Universe. It was sold by a local deli-type restaurant, and oh. my. god. Seven layers of dense, fudgy, rich chocolate topped and stacked with chocolate frosting with, of course, chocolate chips pressed into the sides. It was heaven on earth. I think it converted me to chocolate because now, chocolate is my achilles heel. That cake opened up the pandora's box of my taste buds, and there's no going back.

Unfortunately, with the whole no-trans-fat thing I've got going on, I have since banned that cake from my life (and basically anything else from a bakery), and need to find my chocolate fix in other ways. Although I will eventually need to try my hand at a comparable chocolate cake, I haven't yet, and settle instead with smaller ventures. This chocolate-rum pudding is one of those, and it really happened by chance. You see, I had made a batch of vanilla ice cream (which I will post about, but it's, well, winter time, and my apartment is freezing, and laboriously describing ice cream does not sound very enjoyable or productive at zee moment), and this ice cream left me with extra heavy cream and half and half. I don't drink coffee, so I figured I'd turn it into a dessert somehow. Pudding seemed like the perfect option.

The actual recipe calls for milk and I'm sure that you can use low fat - trust me, I will be trying this recipe out with healthier ingredients someday - but it certainly didn't taste bad with the extra fat in it, let me tell you! It's also just a recipe for chocolate pudding, but I had a little rum extract lying around so I just decided to add it in. Either this addition gave the pudding a nice, nutty flavor, or my taste buds lack adequate flavor discrimination and I've been fooled. Regardless, it tasted tres delicieux. Eat it warm and it's like you're eating brownie batter - and without the eggs, so you don't hear your mother's voice yelling, "don't eat that, you'll get sick!" Eating it cool like a normal pudding is also sufficient, but if I were you, I wouldn't waste my time with such novice approaches. I also added some frozen fruit to it - bananas, strawberries, pineapple - anything that's good covered in chocolate would be good in this dessert. I'd imagine you could also use legit rum instead of the extract, but I don't presume to know the proper ratio, nor do I keep hard liqueur handy, so I just stuck with my cooking products.

Chocolate-Rum Pudding, adapted from The Canadian Baker
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
1/2C sugar (I'd say you could go less for a more bitter product)
1/4C unsweetened cocoa powder
3Tbsp. flour (I used whole wheat)
2C hot milk product (I used a combo of half-n-half and heavy cream)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp. rum extract

The Method
Combine the sugar, cocoa, and flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the milk, looking for a smooth consistency. Increase the temperature to medium-high and cook, still whisking constantly, until the pudding has thickened and begun to boil, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the extracts. Take a spoon, and dig in! Either divide amongst individual dessert dishes or transfer to one central serving dish, and - I say - serve immediately, though the recipe does say to let it cool first.

I can picture this being my go-to pudding recipe, depending on how my alternative ingredient experiments go, just because it's so easy and so good. But of course, I'm sure all of the other 5,000 chocolate pudding recipes I have bookmarked are, too...

This is why I can never make the same thing twice. Maybe by the time I'm 40 I'll have a collection of recipes I'm satisfied enough with to be loyal to. Maybe.

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