Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate Pudding Squares on a rainy Tuesday afternoon

It's pouring outside, and Lilla A is home, and under the weather. Fever and a very tired little mommy. I am swinging it solo these last few days, as The Goat is off to Scotland to play a wedding in the famous Dundas castle outside of Edinburgh.
http://www.dundascastle.co.uk/I tell you jealousy is on the tip of my tongue. Yep, mommy at home with the sick child and pappy out rock'n'rollin'. Gee, I am feeling a little redemption going on in my kitchen. Pretty pudding all to myself that you can eat with your fingers. Who needs a 5 kilometer drive way anyways?

This pretty little gem comes from the newest book called Chewy,Gooey,Crispy,Crunchy by Alice Medrich. After reading the book from front to back, studying every little detail. I now bake much differently then I did before. I have discovered that you do need to pay attention to all the little things, and really, REALLY listen to what the authors say in their directions. Stir to just combined, use a whisk, level out your flours, use only the right percentage of cocoa called in the recipe. It can and will either make or break your baking project.

 I highly recommend this book to any baker out there.You will learn so many valuable tips on being a more successful baker.This three layer little beauty, has such depth of taste and texture. The soft creamy pudding and the kick of the bittersweet chocolate layer and then the crunch of the brown sugar shortbread-ish caramel flavored cookie bottom. Great bar, and completely different way to serve up pudding. 

Chocolate Pudding Bars via Alice Medrich (artisan)


For the crust:

7 tablespoons butter, melted and still warm
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4.5 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or purchased chocolate chips or chunks

For the filling:

1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup (1 ounce) unsweetened coca powder ( I prefer natural)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with up to 62% cacao, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum( I used Amaretto)Because I love the almond flavor with chocolate.


Line a ) inch square metal baking pan, the bottom and all 4 sides lined with foil-Light bulb  moment: flip your pan over and cover gently the bottom of the pan and about 2 inches over the sides. Slowly and gently ease off the foil and insert into the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350F or 177C. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

To make the crust:  In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt.Add the flour and mix just until blended. don't worry if the dough seems too soft or oily, this is normal.Press the dough evenly and smoothly over the bottom of the lined pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown at the the edges. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate over the hot crust.

It goes quite quickly
Let stand for 2-3 minutes to melt the chocolate. Use a pastry brush or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate over the surface of the crust in a thin but thorough layer.Let the crust cool and then refrigerate it until the chocolate is set.

To make the filling:

In a heavy medium-large saucepan, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt to blend. Add about 3 tablespoons of the milk and whisk to form a smooth paste. I needed to add a little more than 3 tablespoons to make a nice paste.Whisk in the remaining milk and cream. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a flat-ended heatproof spatula or wooden spoon and scraping the bottom, sides, and corners of the pan until the pudding thickens and begins to bubble at the edges, 5-6 minutes. Add the chocolate, vanilla and the rum...(choice of liquor) stir a bit faster to smooth out the pudding, cook the starch, and melt the chocolate, about 1½ minutes.

Scrape the hot pudding onto the crust and level it with one or two strokes of the spatula. Let the pudding cool, undisturbed(without mixing, jiggling, or spooning out a taste), at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate the pan, uncovered, until the pudding is completely cool.Cover it and chill for at least several hours or overnight. Use the edges of the foil to lift the the bars from the pan and transfer to  cutting board.

Cut into twenty bars or use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator as you would with pudding. 
For the love of Pudding!

 I have to admit these are fun, and festive to make. They can be made in advance and served at any form of party you will have. This one is for the pudding lovers out there.    

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