1. Begin by removing the leaves from your mint and placing in a bowl. Add 1 Tbsp from the milk you have set aside, and 1 Tbsp from the sugar you have set aside. Use a muddler to crush the mint leaves, or simply use the back of a spoon. Crushing or bruising the leaves releases the oils much better than chopping, so the flavor will be better. Muddle for about 10 seconds.
2. Place the remaining milk in a saucepan and heat until it is hot to the touch but not boiling. Add the crushed mint mixture and turn off the heat, allowing the leaves to steep in the milk for half an hour.
3. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch, salt, egg yolks and vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
4. Once the mint has steeped in the milk for half an hour, remove the mint. If few tiny bits remain, don’t sweat it! Now slowly add the egg mixture to the steeped milk, stirring constantly while combining.
5. Return the saucepan to the stove. Add the sugar and cacao powder and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until it begins to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low (just enough for a gentle simmer) and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until thick, whisking almost constantly (whisking makes it frothy, so you will have to stop here and there to see if it is boiling, yet).
6. Place the pudding in individual serving cups and chill until set (at least 4 hours) (yes the waiting is the hardest part).
7. The finished product is worth the wait, and that pop of fresh mint is delightful in every way. This is a yummy sweet treat that actually isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, which I love. I hope you’ll try it!