2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate pudding:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 pinches fine salt
1 cup cold half-and-half
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
40 mins, plus about 5 hrs setting and freezing time
Makes:About 10 (2-ounce) pops
Why choose just one flavor for your frozen pudding pops when you can swirl together two? Alone, chocolate can seem overpowering, and vanilla a little too plain. But take equal parts chocolate and vanilla, swirl them together, and you have the answer for the most indecisive palate. If chocolate or vanilla is not your thing, swirl in some butterscotch pudding instead.
Special equipment: You will need freezer pop molds for this recipe. We used these molds, but any kind will work. If yours don’t come with sticks that attach securely, you can buy wooden sticks and insert them 1 hour into the freezing time.
You will also need an instant-read thermometer for cooking the pudding.
1Place 3/4 cup of the half-and-half, the sugar, and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes.
2Meanwhile, pour the remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface and let stand without disturbing until the gelatin softens, about 3 minutes (it will start to look wavy and wrinkled).
3Place the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
4Remove the half-and-half mixture from the heat and slowly pour about half of it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until incorporated. Reduce the heat to low and pour the half-and-half/egg mixture back into the pan. Add the gelatin mixture and the butter and cook, whisking constantly and checking the temperature occasionally on an instant-read thermometer, until the butter melts, the gelatin dissolves and no longer feels grainy, and the temperature reaches 160°F, about 5 minutes. (Do not let the mixture boil or go above 170°F, or the gelatin will not set properly and the eggs may curdle.)
5Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl and pour the mixture through the strainer. Discard the solids. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl, making sure it’s directly touching the surface of the pudding, and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, make the chocolate pudding.
For the chocolate pudding:
1Place the butter, sugar, chocolate, and salt in a small saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate and butter have melted and the sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes.
2Meanwhile, place the half-and-half in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface. Let stand without disturbing until the gelatin softens, about 3 minutes (it will start to look wavy and wrinkled).
3Slowly whisk the gelatin mixture into the chocolate mixture until smooth and incorporated. Heat, whisking constantly and checking the temperature occasionally on an instant-read thermometer, until the gelatin dissolves and no longer feels grainy, about 5 minutes. (Do not let the mixture boil or go above 170°F, or the gelatin will not set properly.) Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the vanilla.
4Pour the mixture into a medium heatproof bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap, making sure it’s directly touching the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
To swirl and freeze the pops:
1Remove both puddings from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Vigorously whisk each pudding until smooth (they will be lumpy at first but will eventually smooth out). Place large dollops of each pudding into a large resealable bag, alternating between vanilla and chocolate until all of the pudding is in the bag. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the puddings together but do not mix them completely.
2Cut about a 1/2 inch off of one corner of the bag (pinch the opening closed so the pudding doesn’t run out) and squeeze the swirled pudding into the pop molds. Tap the molds a few times on the counter to release any bubbles, then freeze until frozen, about 3 hours. Alternatively, to serve as pudding, divide the mixture among ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. (To avoid the skin that forms on the surface of pudding, cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and make sure it’s directly touching the pudding.)