Last week Tuesday it was my turn to host book club (we read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I highly recommend if you haven’t read it already). Normally, hosting such an event is an excuse to try a new recipe. But last week, I needed to finish upholstering the chairs I found on Craigslist so that my guests would have somewhere to sit. So, though I didn’t get to try any new recipes, I am pleased with my (and my mom’s) craftiness on this little project.
Finishing home improvement projects immediately prior to having guests over is a fine art I inherited from my parents, and perhaps more specifically my father. Nothing lights a fire under your butt to get [insert home improvement project name here] done like the threat of having guests over. Thankfully, I had 24 hours to spare after completing my chairs, so I did have a little bit of time to contemplate what to make for the book clubbers. I thought about making strawberry shortcake, but the idea of turning on my oven and consequently turning my apartment into a sauna, didn’t really appeal to me on an 85º+ day. My blog reading that morning really paid off though, because I noticed a gazpacho recipe that required no cooking and only the use of my food processor. Perfect! Then, in a moment of inspiration I decided to make chocolate pudding for dessert. I really like this recipe because it’s so easy and requires so few ingredients. Plus, on a hot day, there’s no need to get all hot and sweaty – let the fridge do the work!! It’s from Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.
1 c. chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chips for this batch)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups milk (Mollie says soy is okay, but I’ve never had success with it so I always use cows milk)
a pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine chocolate, sugar and milk in a saucepan. Heat gently, whisking constantly until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is uniform. Remove from heat. Place the cornstarch and salt in a medium-sized bowl and add about half of the hot mixture, whisking vigourously until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then, add this mixture back into the saucepan. Keep stirring the mixture over low heat for about 8 – 10 minutes or until it is think and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Transfer pudding to a serving bowl or individual cups. To avoid a skin forming on top, lay a sheet of waxed paper over the surface. Chill completely before serving (It takes about 2 hours when they pudding is in ramekins).