SERVINGS: 8 SMALL SERVINGS TIME: 15 MINUTES ACTIVE COOKING, PLUS TIME TO CHILL
SOURCE: SMITTEN KITCHEN, BUT INSPIRED BY THE VERSION AT THE LATE BARBUTO RESTAURANT
I was obsessing about what to make for my husband, Tom, and daughter, Lily (our hungry monkey) for Valentine’s Day. Something rich, chocolatey, and smooth – and cold sounded good. And then this recipe for Chocolate Budino (and Italian rich chocolate pudding) hit my inbox from Smitten Kitchen! Smitten Kitchen is a blog for home cooks created by Deb Perelman. Deb originally started writing online in 2003 while also working as an art therapist, and she eventually began the Smitten Kitchen blog in 2006. She is one of my go-to bloggers for amazing, fool-proof recipes.
The recipe below is for a full yield, which makes eight 1/4- to 1/3-cup servings. The budino is rich with dark chocolate and intense. Should you find it too intense for your tastes, you can replace half the chocolate with milk chocolate. You should not, however, skip the whipped cream; it’s just not the same without it!! I like to shave chocolate over the top.
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, plus another 1/2 cup for making whipped cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (60 percent range is perfect here), finely chopped
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Two pinches of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons bourbon, brandy, or another liqueur (optional)
Chocolate Shavings for top over whipped cream (optional)
In the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan, whisk egg yolks with granulated sugar until fully combined. Slow drizzle in 2 cups of cream, whisking the whole time. Warm mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until it is thick enough that it coats a spoon. (Don’t let it simmer or boil.) Place chopped chocolate in the bottom of a large bowl and set a fine-mesh strainer over it. Pour egg yolk mixture through strainer, onto the chocolate. Remove strainer and stir; the heat of the egg yolk mixture should melt the chocolate. Add butter, salt, and vanilla, and mix until butter is melted and combined. Divide between small cups (you’ll have about 2 1/2 to 2 2/3 cups of budino mixture) and chill until fully cold and set. Either right before you serve it or, when the chill is off the custard enough that it won’t melt the cream, whip remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream to very soft peaks. Spoon generously over each cup. Serve cold, with strong coffee, and your favorite biscotti. You can also shave chocolate over the whipped cream, or make more whipped cream and layer it in a Mason jar!