When I think of pudding, I think of that boring, gelatinous goo in plastic cups that gets thrown into kids' lunch boxes. Yuck. I haven't had pudding in years because of this.
But this past week I went to a cooking class at Cooks of Crocus Hill with Robin Asbell. She did a vegan desserts class with some really tasty treats, including a napoleon filled with chocolate pudding and topped with raspberries. After tasting that rich chocolate pudding (she made hers with coconut milk and soy creamer, I believe), I knew I had to give pudding another chance.
So today I paired one of my favorite chocolates, Rogue Chocolatier's Rio Caribe, with your basic cooked pudding recipe. Rogue Chocolate is unique chocolate- It's made on a very small scale in Minneapolis. The owner does basically everything except harvest the cacao beans himself. Pretty amazing and ridiculously delicious. The bars are not cheap and you get what you pay for.
Here's my version:
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla paste
1 tsp. hazelnut extract
5 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup almond milk
1 bar of Rio Caribe Rogue Chocolate (or other pure, barely sweetened eating chocolate), chopped
Heat 1 1/2 cup almond milk and sugar in a saucepan. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and milk is almost simmering. Add vanilla paste, hazelnut extract and salt. In a little cup, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold almond milk until smooth. Add cornstarch slurry to the simmering almond milk and whisk continually until very thick. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk until melted. Pour pudding into little cups or glasses and refrigerate until set.
***Edited to add: This makes a very firm pudding. If you like more of a soft-set, reduce the cornstarch to 4 Tbsp. and add an extra 1/2 cup of milk or creamer.