We went to our friends' Ricky and Tamra's house for a dinner party a couple weeks ago. Knowing that they would be doing a gourmet and very elaborate multi-course meal, I offered to bring dessert. One less thing for them to have to deal with and besides, I had been eyeing this recipe from Saveur and was looking for an excuse to make it.
Admittedly, the idea of chocolate pudding on its own isn't something that I get excited about, however, these chocolate puddings had honeyed rice crisps so they piqued my interest. Plus the addition of Ovaltine was interesting, to me anyway.
Round one of the honeyed rice crisps did not go so well. I sampled them and promptly threw them in the garbage. For round two, I used a higher quality honey. What a difference. A whole world of better. The lesson: use good honey. It matters.
I added vanilla whipped cream and the finished dessert was a great balance of flavors and textures. This is definitely not your average every-day chocolate pudding. The rich chocolate was balanced by the vanilla whipped cream, the sweetness of both balanced by the slight saltiness of the honeyed rice crisps, who's cripsy texture played nicely against the creaminess of the pudding.
The pudding was a great finish to a fabulous meal. And the best part? They can be prepared ahead of time with little trouble. So there's that.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that most of these pictures were taken by my friend, Maria, as she worked with my sister and Tamra as my much-needed 'food stylists' so I could get a decent shot for my blog. A far cry from the usual eye-rolling I get when I pull out my camera to take pictures of food before it is allowed to be served.
However, the wonderful food and conversation notwithstanding, the highlight of the night was a Portugese Waterdog named, Kona:
Kona likes to sit at the dining room table with 'her' guests. Unfortunately, she did not have a place of her own at the table, clearly an oversight, so she was relegated to a spot under the table until such time as a guest vacated their seat. Then she claimed their chair and joined the rest of us until such time as the guest returned. She has impeccable table manners, although she did help herself to my water as I sat on the floor taking pictures of her. But who can blame her, really? It was right in front of her and I was on the floor. She was also a fan of the dessert, by the way, and given her refined palette and cushy lifestyle, I was actually flattered.
Kona, I think I love you. You cannot, however, meet my dogs. Like, ever. There would be mutiny in my house, and I can't have that.
Recipe for Ovaltine Chocolate Pudding with Honeyed Rice Krisps
(Source: Saveur Jan/Feb 2011 issue)
For the Chocolate Pudding:
2 1/4 ounce packages unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup milk
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup Ovaltine powder
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped and reserved
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used semi-sweet), finely chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
For the Honeyed Rice Krisps:
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. butter
1 3/4 cups of Rice Krispies
Whipped cream for serving
In a 2 quart saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over the milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the cream, Ovaltine and vanilla been seeds and heat over medium heat; cook, stirring often until gelatin dissolves and mixture is warmed through. Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate and salt until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a large pitcher; then pour into eight 6 ounce serving glasses or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set (at least 2 hours or overnight).
Meanwhile, heat sugar, honey and butter in a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan often, until mixture turns the color of medium dark caramel. Add salt and cereal and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and spread out evenly. Let cool and then break into small pieces.
To serve, uncover puddings and top with sweetened whipped cream and a generous sprinkling of the honeyed rice krisps. Serve immediately.