This is chocolate pudding with a secret, subtle ingredient. The mellow spice of culinary bay leaves permeates the cream base, infusing the flavor of the green forest into the rich chocolate. When author Susan Belsinger mentioned this recipe in a talk she gave here at the store a few weeks ago, you could almost see the ears perking up around the room. Susan left behind a branch of fresh bay leaves from a friends’ tree; we felt that this was too strong of a hint from the universe to ignore, so we made this recipe out of her self-published book Not Just Desserts Sweet Herbal Recipes.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, impressive and easy, and yes, full of chocolate; we hear mothers are fond of chocolate. Infuse the whipped cream with bay, too, if you are whipping your own, for added forest swoon on the spoon.
Heat the half and half with the bay leaves in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the cream begins to bubble around the edges of the pan, remove from heat and cover. Let stand for 30 minutes.
After the bay has infused in the cream for nearly 30 minutes, combine the cornstarch, sugar, salt, and cocoa in a bowl.
Add the milk and whisk the ingredients together.
Pour this mixture into the warm bay cream and place over moderate heat. Continue cooking and whisking as the pudding thickens.
When the pudding begins to bubble and come to a boil, stir and boil for one minute.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate pieces until they are melted. Add the vanilla and stir well.
Carefully remove the bay leaves and allow the pudding to cool.
Spoon the pudding into individual serving portions (ramekins, jelly jars, weck jars
!) while still warm and allow to cool before refrigerating, or allow the pudding to cool and store in the fridge in a single large container for serving at a later date.
Here, we layered the cooled pudding with bay-infused whipped cream.
Serve at cool room temperature.
Over to You
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