That was the first thought in my head when I started gathering ingredients for this recipe. I have ghosts of economics professors past whispering into my ear, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” And, this does sound too good to be true. It is too good to be true. It is creamy and thick and cool. It is elegant and smooth. It is deep and rich and chocolaty. And, it is made in 5 minutes flat, using a blender. It is suspiciously easy. It is a goofy method that should yield a goofy and unappealing result. But, it doesn’t. I try to find fault with recipes like this. I really search for the problem. Purists might quibble about whether this is a mousse or a pudding or just an un-categorized custard. It is a little denser than a mousse and sets a little better than a pudding. I truly care not a whit what you end up calling it. I only know it is not a pot de crème…for the one reason that it is not cooked in its cute little cup, which I understand to be categorically significant. That lack of cooking may be this dish’s one potential hitch, actually, if you consider such things problematic…which I do not. It uses an egg that is not technically heated past the “safe” point.
So to my ghost professors, I say, “Well, it does use a raw egg , so you shouldn’t try this if you have a compromised immune system.” And, the ghosts say, “ahh…risk…risk brings potential for great reward…carry on, woman.”
While I was rooting around on the internet checking the provenance of this recipe, I learned that this little method is no big secret. I first ran across it in the 1979 copy of the Junior League of Tuscaloosa, Alabama cookbook Winning Seasons. I have made a few little changes but this is generally the version that makes the rounds. The Tuscaloosa recipe is attributed to Mrs. Gene Bennett, to whom I am very thankful. This garage sale cookbook adoption looks to be a great bit of luck.
All that you need to make this are semi-sweet chocolate morsels, whole milk, an egg, a little sugar, a pinch of salt…and a little vanilla if you choose to use it. You will want to make the whipped cream, too. You probably have all of this in your pantry and fridge. There is no excuse for you not to go make this right this minute.
Recipe for Cold Chocolate Custard: (makes 5 servings, each approximately ⅓ cup)
¾ cup whole milk (2% works, too)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
a pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1. Place the milk in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, put the egg, salt, chocolate chips and sugar in the blender. When the milk comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the vanilla. In a swift series of motions, pour the milk into the blender, place the lid on the blender and turn on the blender. Be swift, because otherwise you will have scrambled eggs in your pudding. Allow the blender to run for 1 minute.
2. Pour the custard into the containers of your choice. Place the custard cups into the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours to allow them to thicken and cool.
3. When you are ready to serve the custard, make the whipped cream. In a clean and cold bowl, whip the cream until thickened. Add the confectioners’ sugar and whip just until soft peaks form. Place a dollop of cream on each custard cup.
This recipe is totally in keeping with my lax outlook on cooking this summer. It is hot and I don’t want to deal with any productions. Also, my kids only have a few more weeks of summer left. I am mom first, and they tire of cooking and writing and blogging seeming more important than swimming and playing. So, I’m just keeping it cool and simple. I hope you aren’t hopelessly bored with my summer selections. I will consider more ambitious fare once I get my days back to myself. For now, it is all light and breezy.
These cups are nothing but candle votives that I bought at Pier One a while back. They are cheap and handy. Each has about ½ cup capacity.
I used Ghiridelli Chocolate. I like it. I have also used Toll House and they were fine. With so few ingredients, you really taste all of them. If the chocolate is marginal, the custard will be too.
For a few other recipes where I throw caution to the wind in my use of runny or uncooked eggs, see Mustard Greens and Hollandaise Stacks, Croque Madame, Eggs in Cocotte, and Ruffled Egg Cups. The Mustard Greens recipe also uses another blender miracle recipe for the hollandaise. Undercooked eggs are all over the place in that one. Also, enjoy this recipe for Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (which I simply tested once to see how it behaves with the custard cooked, since my family has never cooked this custard recipe, and the coroner has never ruled that as the cause of death of a family member…yet). But truly, if you are immune compromised, pregnant or nursing, these might not be the best choices. Generally, I believe that if you buy good eggs, handle them properly and use them while they are fresh, the likelihood of a problem is very remote.