Ah, yes, pride goeth before the fall. I’ll admit it. For the last year or so, I’ve been walking around (swaggering is more like it) under the impression that I had mastered pudding. My days of broken, curdled, or overly-thickened pudding were over. I’d forged a straight line from apprentice, to journeywoman, to master.
Now I’m beginning to wonder if the concept of mastery applies in the kitchen. Does Dorie Greenspan still make puddings that break or curdle or refuse to set up in the fridge? I mean, if she’s standing there watching it, being careful, can that still happen? Eh, probably not. But it happens to me.
I suppose, in a way, that’s what keeps us coming back for more. Sure, we can open up a box of powdered pudding mix, add cold milk, and get creamy results every time. But where’s the fun in that?
I’ll take the occasional broken-down pudding or dried-out cake or soupy pie filling — much as I hate it when that happens — because that’s part of the deal when you cook from scratch. Baking is elemental, old-fashioned, mysterious, and it can’t be rushed or faked.
Having said all that, my pudding this week was perfection. Smooth, creamy, silky…. Yeah, right.
The top vanilla pudding layer was too loose. The bottom chocolate ganache layer was too thick. Each spoonful presented a dark, sludgy bog topped with slippery, sliding clumps of vanilla. Strangely enough, if you closed your eyes and ignored the screwy texture, it tasted lovely. I happen to adore the combination of vanilla pastry cream and chocolate ganache (think eclairs, Boston cream pie, Napoleons). So I highly recommend this dessert to pudding masters everywhere. As for this apprentice girl, I’ll just have to try, try again.