I’m not much of a sweets guy. In fact, when given the choice, I always pick savory over sweet. In the hours after dinner, when most people romanticize about a warm piece of apple pie, I’m thinking about french fries and mayonnaise. But that’s not to say that I don’t like sweets at all. I’m just picky. That’s probably why I don’t post too many recipes for desserts on this here blog. Sure, I’ve done pumpkin pie, salted butter chocolate chip cookies, and a spectacular raspberry-fig tarte, but that’s about it. A couple nights ago, my wife decided that she was going to make a very classic, very French chocolate pudding. My memories of pudding took me back to playgrounds and field trip sack lunches, where I’d wolf down the gloppy, starchy stuff and wish for another Capri-Sun to wash it all down. Knowing that the version she planned to make would be altogether different (and way better), I was excited and intrigued. But about an hour later, we found ourselves staring over a bowl of grainy chocolate and wondering how we were going to whip a couple egg whites into stiff peaks by hand. The chocolate, sensitive to rapid change in temperature, had been placed over a double boiler for too long and had seized up into a giant ball. It’s safe to say that a more thorough reading of the recipe would have helped. I must point out, though, that Raquelle is a great cook. And she’s a fantastic vegan baker. In fact, she is hailed by her friends to be a sorceress when it comes to coconut milk, avocado, and maca powder. The French kitchen, however, in all its eggy/milky/fatty goodness, behaves very differently. It’s no wonder things didn’t turn out quite right. Yesterday, I thought we’d waited long enough; that even though it had been only a day since defeat, we should give it another shot. Raquelle had other obligations and left me to it alone. I took a moment to consider how I might improve upon a basic chocolate pudding. I had all kinds of ideas. There was one that I had planned on calling an “Old Fashioned” Chocolate Pudding. I would have substituted bourbon whiskey for the water, added macerated cherries, and orange zest to the whipped cream. And if Bourbon were not so damned expensive here in France, I probably would have made that. My other idea is what you see here: a pudding made with dark chocolate, sweet raspberries, and topped with a coconut milk whipped cream. It tastes as dreamy as it sounds, and as I type these very words, there’s a big bowl of it propped up on my lap, nearly gone. But, you know, I don’t really care for sweets, right?Dark Chocolate-Raspberry Pudding with Coconut Cream (serves 4)
2 eggs, room temp
170 g high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
60 grams water, room temp
40 g sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries
60 g butter(room temp), chopped
1 can coconut milk, well chilled
Begin by pouring the raspberries and about a tablespoon of water into a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Let the raspberries cook and condense for about ten minutes. Once they’ve condense, let them cool.
Meanwhile, separate the whites and the yolks of the eggs. Using a hand mixer, beat the whites until they form soft peaks.
In a separate bowl, add the chopped chocolate, the water, the butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Use a double-boiler to slowly heat the chocolate until it melts. Be sure to stir it slowly and continuously. If you don’t have a double boiler, not to worry. You can simply heat some water in a small saucepan and place a slightly larger pan on top of it. Once the chocolate mixture has melted and is completely homogenous, slowly stir in raspberries, followed by the two egg yolks. Then, slowly fold in the beaten egg whites. The idea of folding is to combine without destroying the aeration of the whipped egg whites. Be sure, however, that you do not leave any streaks of the beaten whites. Once combined, cover the pudding with plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge for about two hours.
While the pudding cools, you can make the coconut cream. Be sure that you are using canned coconut milk that has been kept refrigerated. This will ensure that the fat has risen to the top. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop out the rich fatty stuff on the top. Leave behind the water at the bottom. To prepare it, use a whisk and beat it until it comes to your desired consistency. As I’m not a big fan of very sweet things, I choose to keep the coconut cream simple, without any added sugars. I won’t tell you how to serve this, as I’m sure you can figure it out. But I certainly wouldn’t mind if you decided to enjoy this with a sip of fine Kentucky Bourbon.