Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
Yield
6 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup)

Fresh mint leaves steep in fat-free milk to impart the herb's essence; the taste is much better than that of mint extract. Unless milk is stabilized with a thickener such as flour or cornstarch, it will "break," or curdle, when it becomes too hot; that's why it's important to go no higher than 180 degrees at the beginning of step one.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat milk over medium-high heat in a small, heavy saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; add mint. Let stand 15 minutes; strain milk mixture through a sieve into a bowl, reserving milk. Discard solids. Return milk to pan; stir in sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt. Return pan to medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk until mixture thickens.

Step 2

Place egg yolks in a medium bowl; gradually add half of hot milk mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add egg mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute or until thick. Remove from heat; add vanilla and chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Pour pudding into a bowl; cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Chill. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

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