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out with the old

Recipe: chocolate budino

I am routinely guilty of tackling my “spring cleaning” in October – after the fall shoot is done, but before ski season kicks into high gear. And well, if ski season gets an early start, then we boot spring cleaning until next fall. Except this year we undertook a spring purge. Call it the decadal cleaning, because it’s time to puppy proof our house. We never had to do this for Kaweah because she was already 6 years old when we moved in and so good about leaving things alone like trash, compost, food that wasn’t hers, plants – everything.

But puppy… puppy will have to learn. And while we’re puppy proofing, why not go through all of our closets, cabinets, drawers, files, and basement? Oh, and let’s rearrange the furniture, too. It snowballed into a multi-day project in which most of the house was sorted for reorganization, recycling, donation, or trash. I’m happy to report that the smallest category was trash. Our car is loaded with old retired electronics and generations of computing equipment to be recycled responsibly at CHaRM in Boulder.

jeremy replaced our uv decals on the windows so birds won’t crash into our house

I’m glad to finally get this cleaning out of the way. For the past several days the weather has toggled between rain, snow, graupel, and hail. We’ve also had some mighty fine thunderstorms roll through in the afternoons and at night. The high country is getting snow – and that is a truly marvelous thing. Perhaps if the stars align, I’ll get to ski one more time before puppy comes home. The best part about this winter holdout is that she won’t have to wait until autumn to get her first taste of proper Rocky Mountain snow.

mist and snow up valley

storm front approaching

graupel falling on our deck

Even though I don’t do requests on this blog, when I last posted about Bacchanale, people had asked me if I’d recreate the recipe for their chocolate budino. I must admit that the thought had crossed my mind, but I didn’t put it into action until we had our neighbors over for dinner last month. I spent some time recipe testing (and I loathe recipe testing) to get it right, and I think we have a winner. I started the crust with a cookie crumb base because it is just the right crumbly, sandy texture to go with a super rich, thick, creamy pudding.

vanilla, sugar, butter, salt, chocolate sandwich cookies

melted butter, cookie crumbs, sugar, salt, vanilla

mix it all together

The chocolate cookie crumbs are from the cookie part of the sandwich cookies. I don’t include the creamy center in my cookie crust, although I’m sure you could. I just feel the cream center is too sweet and I’d rather control the amount of sugar myself. The cookie crumb mixture should resemble topsoil. I tried different quantities of sugar and butter before settling on this version of the crust. It is intentionally crumbly so it is easy to break into it with a fork. This also means you have to handle it with kid gloves when you remove it from the tart pan. If the crust is too hard, you’ll send the pieces flying every which way when you try to eat it. Also, I think this is best served as individual tarts, but if you insist on making a giant single tart then best of luck to you (I hope it works, but I foresee a mess).

the crust mixture should look like topsoil

press into tart molds with removable bottoms

baked and cooling

Let the crusts cool completely before removing them from their molds. They will hold together better that way. Also, they hold together better if you pressed them tightly rather than loosely before baking. You may have noticed that I have a few petit four molds in the mix there. Those didn’t work out at all since they don’t have removable bottoms – I just got a handful of (delicious) crumbs. Once cooled, you can refrigerate the crusts for up to a few days in their molds in an airtight container. If they don’t unmold when cold (because the butter has solidified to the tart mold), let them come to room temperature before removing the crusts from the pans. Meanwhile, you can start on the pudding.

egg yolks, cream, vanilla, cornstarch, sugar, milk, salt, cocoa powder, chocolate

heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan

stir cream into the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt

stir in the egg yolks

My first attempt at the pudding wasn’t stiff enough to hold a proper shape. It was like normal pudding. The budino I had at Bacchanale was somewhere between pudding and ganache. So Jeremy happily consumed that first failure. But on my next iteration, I increased the egg yolks, cornstarch, and chocolate. That seemed to do the trick. The photo above was the first iteration, which is why you see two egg yolks and not four. Just follow the recipe.

temper the chocolate mixture with the hot milk

whisk the chocolate into the chocolate custard

pour the pudding into a dish and let it set up in the refrigerator

The pudding can be made ahead of time, too. This means if you want to make this dessert for entertaining, you can get it done a few days early and assemble it just before serving. If presentation is important, you might want to make extra crusts in case one flies out of your hands onto the floor and shatters or if they just break during unmolding. Worst case scenario? If they all break or crumble, spoon the pudding into a little dish or glass and sprinkle the crumbs on top. Assuming your crusts do come out just fine, fill them with pudding, then garnish with some good flake salt and high quality olive oil.

crust, flake sea salt, olive oil, pudding (in a piping bag)

piping the pudding into the crust

finishing touches

In the end, I think I reproduced the budino properly. The neighbors loved it. Jeremy loved it. Even *I* liked it. This isn’t overly sweet, which I tend to prefer. Once the pudding reaches your tongue, it goes from smooth to melty. That contrasts nicely with the crunchy, sandy texture of the crust. And if you have doubts about the olive oil, I strongly urge you to try it. It just adds a level of rich flavor to the whole delectable package. You only need a little, but it’s really wonderful.

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Chocolate Budino
[print recipe]
inspired by Bacchanale

2 cups (8 oz.) chocolate cookie crumbs
4 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsps sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

6 tbsps Dutch-process cocoa powder
4 tbsps cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

high quality olive oil
flake sea salt

Prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter, sugar, sea salt, and vanilla extract together. Toss with a fork until the mixture resembles wet topsoil. Press about 1/3 cup of the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 4-inch diameter (1 inch high) tart pan with removable bottom. Repeat for the remaining 5 or 6 tart pans. Set the tart pans on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before handling.

Make the pudding: Sift the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt together. Stir the heavy cream into the dry ingredients (this will get thick). Stir the egg yolks into the mixture until completely incorporated. In a medium saucepan, stir the milk and sugar together over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the milk to a simmer and remove from heat. Gently stir 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in another 1/2 cup of the hot milk until smooth. Stir the chocolate mixture into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk until smooth.

Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until the pudding thickens. When big bubbles begin to erupt in the center of the saucepan, turn the heat down to medium and whisk the pudding vigorously for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract into the hot pudding until the chocolate is completely melted. Pour the pudding into a baking dish (8×8 inch or 9×9 inch works). Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding surface and chill for at least an hour.

Assemble the budino: Carefully remove the crusts from their pans and set on serving plates. The crusts are fragile, so you want to minimize how much you handle them. Take the pudding out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Whisk the pudding to loosen it up. Spoon or pipe the pudding into each tart crust. If spooning, it’s best to use a second spoon to help drop the pudding into the crust, by scraping the pudding off the first spoon. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil over each tart and sprinkle with flake sea salt. Serve. Makes 6 4-inch tarts. The components can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept refrigerated, but assemble just before serving.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

chocolate pudding butterscotch and milk chocolate puddings chocolate pots de crème sticky toffee pudding

14 nibbles at “out with the old”

  1. Jasline (Foodie Baker) says:

    Wow this looks absolutely amazing and delicious. I love the fact that it’s not too overly sweet and the last touch of sea salt at the end, fabulous!

  2. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    I love that you took care to make sure that the crust wasn’t too hard- I can’t remember how many times I’ve had a bakery tart where I needed to get out a huge knife, only for the crust to sprawl out on the table.

  3. Thalia @ butter and brioche says:

    Definitely craving one of these little chocolate budino’s right now.. as a massive oreo and rich chocolate lover this is SO up my street.

  4. Kristin says:

    Oh, I am so excited!! Can’t wait to try it! Back to the kitchen store I go for some tart pans.

  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    This sounds so, so delicious! Love that filling!

  6. jill says:

    You always seem to have the right pans and serving dishes. I am impressed.

    Counting the days until puppy arrives!!! xo, j

  7. Sarah says:

    This looks delicious! Do you have a recommendation for a high-quality olive oil? Thank you for your great recipes!

  8. Pey-Lih says:

    That looks SO amazing! Thank you, Jen!

  9. farmerpam says:

    Wow, just wow. Looks amazing. And I’m sure it tastes amazing too. I’d hike or pedal a few extra miles just to sample one of those! (Waiting for the pupster to arrive!)

  10. Trina says:

    OMG this looks so delicious. I have never used a tart pan before but I know what I will be getting this weekend. Although I don’t understand the salt and Olive Oil but what do I know. I didn’t know I liked aparagus until my husband made me try it. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Robin says:

    It would be easy for you to head down the hill to the Table Mesa King Soopers and pick up Nabisco chocolate wafers. Seems like such a hassle to do the Oreo thing! They’re not cheap, nor are they organic, but they’re far less hassle.

  12. jenyu says:

    Jasline – same here. Chocolate is so much more interesting when it isn’t overpoweringly sweet!

    Heather – right?! It makes me crazy when it’s brick hard. Although the crumbly texture means it’s quite fragile and that can be frustrating, too.

    Thalia – ha ha!! :)

    Kristin – I think desserts alone can keep all of the kitchen stores in business!

    Katrina – it’s really nice. I hope you try it!

    jill – too many pans, really ;)

    Sarah – well, the one I used was a gift from my friends in California. It’s We Olive ( and the one I have is fruity and smooth (so good!).

    Pey-Lih – you’re welcome!

    farmerpam – precisely!

    Trina – hope you like it!

    Robin – King Soopers is not an extra stop I want to make when I drive into town and I do prefer organic when I can get it (which they happen to carry here in Nederland).

  13. Cavs says:

    This looks so delicious. I wont even try to make one coz am sure the results wont b as wonderful as you have them on this pics. How I wish I could. someday I will try.

  14. Renee says:

    This looks delicious an tempting, and I love chocolate. Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience and time for a multi-step recipe like this. I wish someone can make it for me.

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