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Silky chocolate pudding

Chocolate pudding has to be one of my all-time favourite desserts. It's so simple to make and when you need a chocolate fix, as I've been known to have from time to time, there's nothing like it. This pudding is wonderful served warm. But if you want to save some for after the kids go to bed (c'mon people, I know you do this stuff too), simply pop it in the fridge, covered, and enjoy it cool. 

If you like your chocolate pudding fancied up a little, see the bottom of this post for flavour variations!

Here's how I made it:
makes 4 servings

3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of one vanilla bean
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

I combined all the ingredients in a large saucepan and placed the saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. I stirred using a whisk until all the cocoa powder was absorbed into the milk, then switched to using a heat-proof spatula. I continued cooking and stirring over medium to medium-high heat just until the mixture came to a light bubble and began to thicken. To finish, I immediately poured the pudding through a mesh sieve into serving bowls (before it thickened too much and wouldn't run through the sieve).

There are many variations that can be made to this dessert. I've made it with a mashed banana added to the mixture for a chocolate banana pudding. You could also add the zest of an orange for chocolate orange pudding, or a teaspoon of peppermint extract for one of my favourite flavour combinations - chocolate mint!

I'm teaching this recipe in my Family Favourites cooking class at The London Chef! Click the button at the top of my blog for registration info.

What's your favourite chocolate dessert?