Kim O’Donnel - Chocolate Chile Pudding

Kim O’Donnel is a trained chef, nationally recognized online food personality, and longtime journalist. Formerly of The Washington Post, Kim has also written for USA Today, Real Simple, Country Gardens and Culinate. Kim prepared and shared the below recipe for guests of Lake Austin Spa Resort for our Culinary Experience program.

Preparation

Chocolate-Chile Pudding
Excerpted from “The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations” by Kim O’Donnel by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong , a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright 2012.

Kitchen notes: I have used chocolate in both bar and chip form, and the results are equally delightful, so feel free to use what’s on hand and available where you live. I’ve used everything from Ghirardelli chips to single-origin baking bars, and I’m always happy with the results. Even in the absence of milk solids, most baking chocolate is not guaranteed dairy-free, due to cross-contamination during processing. If dairy is an issue, be sure to read labels before buying.
 

Ingredients:
• 4 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, or 3⁄4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• 1 (12-ounce) package firm silken tofu, preferably organic
• 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• Generous pinch of ground cayenne
• 1⁄3 cup unsweetened milk of choice (coconut, cow’s, soy)
• 1 1⁄2 cups berries of choice
• Tools: Food processor or blender
 

Directions:
Melt the chocolate: Pour a few inches of water into a small saucepan and place a metal bowl that fits snugly on top, yet without touching the water, to make a double boiler. Break the chocolate into smaller pieces (if using the bars) and place in the bowl. Over medium-low heat, allow the chocolate to completely melt, using a heatproof rubber spatula to stir  and blend. Remove the bowl from the heat and let the chocolate cool for 5 minutes.
 

Plan B: Place the broken-up bar chocolate (or chocolate chips) in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 90 seconds, until melted. Stir to blend.
 

Place the tofu,  with  its  liquid,  in a food processor  or  blender.  Add the sugar, vanilla,  cinnamon,  and cayenne, and blend until  the tofu is creamy smooth and the sugar crystals  are undetectable.  Add the melted chocolate and blend, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl, followed by the milk.  Blend one last time; the mixture  should be well integrated, creamy, and maybe even a little fluffy.

Transfer the pudding to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. The pudding can be served immediately at room temperature, but is best when chilled. Serve in small bowls, topped with berries.

Leftovers will keep for a few days. The pudding may separate slightly, easily remedied by a few stirs.

Makes six 1⁄3-cup servings (with a little extra for cook’s treat)