Not my usual work
Our dear friends are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They are hosting a giant party on Sunday and asked me to make chocolate pudding for 50. I was happy to fulfill this request. Our friends have been so kind to us I would have gladly done anything they asked, even if it were unpleasant. Making a dinner sized portion of pudding for say a dozen people is something I could do even without drinking my morning coffee. Making pudding for 50 needed some figuring out.
First I had to figure out how much I had to make. Luckily we live in the age of Google and I found out that 2 1/2 gallons of ice cream is the right amount to serve for 50 if you are serving other stuff.
My friend has been consulting with me at morning services. He wanted a dark chocolate pudding, not milk chocolate. Please, I shouldn't make the pudding too sweet. This request came with a face that was revolted at the thought of an overly sweet chocolate pudding.
I thought about actually following a recipe and scaling it up for 50 people. That sort of figuring out makes my head hurt.
So instead I went to the fancy market across the street from my apartment and bought ingredients, whole milk, heavy cream, fancy European cocoa and a big block of fancy baking chocolate.
I first started making pudding from scratch back when I was in college. The recipe I followed from Joy of Cooking started with a roux. Other recipes I have used over the years begin with you scalding milk and then adding a slurry of starch to the hot milk.Those methods tend to yield a lumpy pudding when I attempt them. Lately though I have been making pudding in a method I think of as the My-Ti-Fine method.
The same way that packaged puddings start out with all of the dry ingredients mixed together put into a pot and then you add the liquids to the pot. You stir the dry and the wet ingredients together until the mixture boils and the starch molecules get big and smooth to the taste.
I decided to make the chocolate not in my giant soup vat but in my make soup for four people pot. I thought that the smaller quantity would be easier to manage in two batches.
So I mixed up a bunch of cocoa, flour, sugar and salt. I then added heavy cream and milk to the pot and whisked the mixture smooth and then turned the heat up to medium low under the pot and stirred until the mixture boiled.When the mixture was warm I added lots of chopped up fancy baking chocolate.
This actually took a long time. It's a lot of gentle stirring. It helped that I was listening to some good podcasts.
After the mixture boiled I added vanilla and some rum. If I were making this pudding for my family I might have added a couple of shakes of cayenne pepper, or some gratings of orange peel but I decided to not get funky with the flavors.
I had thought that I might need to make three batches of pudding, but my giant bowl was nearly full. it looked like it was enough pudding to feed 50 people.
This morning my friend had reminded me that there would be lots of other food, so perhaps pudding for 50 was a bit too much.
I see that I have a gallon and 3/4 of chocolate pudding. I will ask my friend if this is enough.
This is the time of year that you hand out holiday gifts to building staff.
We didn't have Holiday cards. I told my husband I would make cards. I asked my son to suggest a theme. He suggested snowflakes.
I set up a production line and went to work creating the cards layer by layer.
I even got some sewing in. I will show the finished piece in t he next day or so.