This is an ancient Neopolitan recipe I learned about from Chef Mario Batali. It is incredibly easy to make, can be prepared in advance, and absolutely satisfies all lovers of the cocoa bean, particularly those that have a propensity for intense, bitter chocolate. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream and toasted pine nuts.
Ingredients (serves 10-12):
-1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-2 cups sugar
-4.5 cups whole milk
-12 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated (or buy already in small pieces)
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-5 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted for 30-45 seconds in a hot pan without any oil
In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour and sugar. Whisk in a bit of milk slowly to form a paste, then slowly whisk in the remaining milk. Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly.
Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon and stir to blend and to melt the chocolate. Use a ladle to pour the chocolate into 6-ounce ramekins. Allow to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and ready to serve.
Serve the pudding with unsweetened whipped cream and garnish with a few toasted pine nuts.
James is a food writer and Bay Area chef who owns and runs a private dinner party and cooking class business specializing in regional Italian and Spanish cuisine. See CookWithJames.com