Recipe quick take: Ovenly’s Salted dark chocolate pudding

It is absolutely true that I panned this cookbook (Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery) on Amazon, for what I thought was a particularly unforgivable editorial error. But there were still things I wanted to make in it, so it made it into my recipe pointers page anyway. This recipe — Salted dark chocolate pudding — was simple and used ingredients that I (mostly) already had on hand, and it had been so long since I had made cooked pudding, and I had milk that I wanted to use up before it spoiled, so I figured this would be an easy weeknight experiment. (Although this post is publishing on a Saturday, I actually did the cooking on Wednesday night.) As a bonus, it’s only 230 calories per serving, which is comparable to a good piece of chocolate.

Mise en place
As usual, we start with the mise en place. I made a few minor substitutions: I used vanilla paste rather than extract, low-fat milk rather than whole (which I can’t stand drinking and for that reason never buy), and I used Valrhona cocoa. Judging by the appearance, this recipe would have benefited from an even darker cocoa, like the “black” cocoa King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Store catalogue sells. There’s rather a lot of salt — ¾ tsp — which I found excessive in the final product; other than that, it’s a fairly standard cornstarch pudding. For the chocolate, I used Valrhona Guanaja (70%); the authors recommend “60 percent … or higher”.

Cornstarch and milk slurry
The pudding is thickened with a cornstarch-and-milk slurry. (This contrasts with Joanne Chang’s pudding, for example, which is a much much richer egg custard — at three times the calorie toll per serving!)

Melting chocolate in milk
All of the ingredients except the cornstarch slurry are heated together to combine and melt the solid chocolate, then the slurry is added and the whole thing is simmered until the cornstarch granules gelatinize and a thick pudding is formed. I suspect I didn’t cook it quite as much as I should have, but I also noted that the instructions in this recipe called for far lower heat than makes any sense — or else the authors wrote it for high-output commercial-style gas ranges. After waiting twelve minutes for the pudding to even come up to a simmer, I finally gave up and turned it to medium, and then it only took five more minutes to thicken. (Total cooking time was about 40 minutes, and I felt like it should have been more like 15.)

Finished pudding
The recipe headnote states a yield of “about 2 cups, 4 servings”, so my first approach was to measure out one half-cup into a dessert cup, then replicate by mass. That left a lot of pudding in the pot, so I kept on pouring to determine the actual yield, which was 620 grams, giving 155 g per serving (about 5½ oz or ⅔ cup).

As I said, I thought that this was a bit too salty, although to be fair, when a recipe title begins with “salted” you can’t complain too much about it. If I were to make this again, however, I would probably cut the salt in half — which would probably make it just an ordinary chocolate cornstarch pudding.


This reflects the recipe as written (with whole milk), not how I prepared it.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: about ⅔ cup (155 g)
Servings per recipe: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 230 Calories from fat 60
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7g 10%
 Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 473mg 20%
Potassium 103mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 13%
 Dietary fiber 2g 4%
 Sugars 32g
Proteins 5g 10%
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 16%
Iron 5%
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