Friday, April 8, 2011

Chocolate-Hazelnut Pudding

1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 vanilla bean
6 extra large egg yolks
3 T cornstarch, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1 large pinch salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 T butter

Preparing the pudding:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Let cool and remove skins.

Chop the cooled hazelnuts to a coarse crumb in a food processor.

Put the milk and half and half in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add both the bean and seeds to the milk. Add the hazelnuts and heat to scalding over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar and salt together in a large bowl until thick and pale yellow.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Strain the milk-hazelnut mixture into the egg yolk mixture, half a cup at a time, whisking after each addition until you've added about a cup and a half. Then strain and whisk in the rest of the milk. Return to the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the custard is thick and starts to bubble, about 3 minutes.

Strain the thickened custard into a clean bowl. Stir in the melted chocolate-butter mixture.

Scrape the entire pudding into a blender or food processor and process for about 30 seconds, until silken and smooth.

Spoon the pudding into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. Chill, overnight if possible, before eating -- The flavors do need to marry.

Serves 8


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