1.In a medium mixing bowl, add the egg yolks, and whisk briefly to lighten. Set the bowl and the whisk next to the stovetop.
2.In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, whisk the cornstarch, cocoa, and sugar until all lumps are removed, and then slowly whisk in the cold milk, a little at a time to ensure no lumps form. Scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan with a silicon (heatproof) spatula.
3.Over medium-low heat, continue stirring the pudding until it thickens to the point that it lightly coats the back of the spatula, about 5 minutes. (We aren’t using enough cornstarch here to get a thick coating. Cornstarch begins to thicken quickly at 203º, turning the sauce from opaque to translucent in the process.)
4.Continue cooking and stirring constantly as the pudding comes to a gentle simmer, about 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to low.
5.Ladle a ½ cup of the hot pudding into the egg yolks and whisk rapidly. Repeat two times. Now add the egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan.
6.Bring the heat back up to about 208º, just below a simmer, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat.
7.Add the chopped chocolate and continue stirring for about 1 minute, until the chocolate is melted and well combined with the other ingredients.
8.Stir in the vanilla extract and sea salt.
9.Immediately pour the pudding into a medium mixing bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup.(If you think you may have lumps, pour the pudding through a single mesh strainer, using a plastic spatula to push the pudding through.)
10.Quickly press a small piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
11.Let cool, and then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
12.Spoon pudding into six, ½-cup ramekins.
13.Top each serving with a generous mound of whipped cream and a strip of orange peel.
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