ChocolatePudding_IMG_9981It’s no secret that this pregnancy has been largely an uncomfortable one. The beauty and magic of pregnancy—which has mostly eluded me this time around—has dissipated. I’m ready, I’m done, I want this baby out now. But I’m just a little too much of a nature-knows-best type to request an induction or schedule a c-section.

“There’s not much going on down there.” That’s what my doctor told me today, at my 38 week prenatal visit. Labor is not imminent. It’s possible I’ve got 4 more weeks of this godawful unpleasantness ahead of me. I won’t go into detail, but trust me, it’s seriously unpleasant.

So what does this have to do with dinner? After my appointment, feeling glum, I paged through a magazine and noticed a picture of a very tasty looking chocolate pudding. Chocolate pudding! That was exactly what I wanted, and we had all of the ingredients on hand.

Tonight, rather than dipping into the dregs of the Halloween bucket, we would have a proper dessert. It was sure to make me feel better, or at least distract me momentarily from my discomfort.

When she got home from school, Rose and I whipped up a batch from this Smitten Kitchen recipe (also below). Cooking with Rose is always a spirit-lifter, and fingers dipped in chocolate never hurts either.

It’s a super-easy pudding recipe. Quick to prepare and no special equipment or fancy skills required. It’s delicious, but don’t fill your bowls too much, it’s very rich, and we couldn’t finish ours. Not even Shane.

For dinner, we had ravioli with some of Marcella’s Famous Sauce (from the freezer). And lightly steamed broccoli with lemon-butter.

• Chocolate Pudding •
from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 6 to 7 (I’d say more like 8-10)

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk (2% works fine)
6 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 cup good chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, Slowly whisk in the milk, in a thin steam at first so that lumps don’t form, then more quickly once the cornstarch mixture is smoothly incorporated. Place over medium-low heat and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 10 minutes or so (slower over lower heat is better, to give the cornstarch time to cook), before it starts to simmer, the mixture should begin to thicken, enough that it will coat the back of a spoon. Add the chocolate, and continue stirring for another 2 to 4 minutes, until chocolate is fully incorporated and mixture is quite thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

If you’re concerned about lumps: Run mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Distribute among individual pudding cups or one large serving bowl, and chill until it is cool and set, about 2 to 3 hours. If you dislike pudding skin: Put plastic on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Pudding is good for 3 days in the fridge.ChocolatePuding_ByRose_IMG_9984Rose’s “pudding setup,” by Rose.