Adapted from "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth" by Jill O'Connor
Makes:6 to 8 servings
This classic pudding gets its deep chocolate flavor from a combination of cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate. A mixture of egg yolks, cream, sugar, cornstarch, milk, and the chocolate is cooked on the stovetop until it thickens, then strained to make sure it’s smooth. Crème fraîche, cream, vanilla, and sugar are then whipped together and dolloped on top, for a simple, rich dessert.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl; set aside.
Place the egg yolks and cream in a large bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
Place the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth.
Place the pan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, until the mixture comes to a simmer and thickens slightly, about 6 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk the contents into the reserved egg yolk mixture. Pour the egg-cocoa mixture back into the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until it just begins to simmer, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute more.
Immediately pour the mixture through the prepared strainer, scraping any extra clinging to the underside of the strainer into the bowl; discard the solids left in the strainer. Add the chocolate and vanilla to the bowl and stir until the chocolate has melted and the pudding is smooth.
Transfer the pudding to small ramekins or bowls. Immediately press sheets of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the puddings to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or overnight.
For the whipped crème fraîche topping:
When ready to serve the pudding, chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Place all of the topping ingredients in the chilled bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a hand whisk and a large chilled bowl. Whisk all of the ingredients until medium peaks form, about 5 to 6 minutes.) Serve immediately with the pudding.