New Year's Party Dessert: The Amazing, Indulgent, Truly Remarkable Mini Chocolate Pudding Puffs

Mini Chocolate Pudding Puffs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Mini Chocolate Pudding Puffs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

Double chocolate pudding puffs. Just stop what you are doing and imagine a thin, slightly crisp, tender shell enveloping rich, smooth, creamy homemade chocolate pudding. Really, envision this for a moment. I don’t know about you but my mouth is watering. And if you are an avowed chocolate-lover, you should listen up.

These little delectable balls of heaven might seem like a lot of work, but they are not hard and everything--yes, everything--can be made in advance and put together easily at the last minute (or a few hours ahead of time).

Made from dough called pâte à choux (little cabbage dough), this light pastry dough is used to make all sorts of goodies: profiteroles, éclairs, crullers, and gougères to name a few. My version uses good-quality cocoa powder (I used natural, not Dutch-process) in place of a little flour in the dough to give it a chocolaty edge. The dough comes together quickly, and then can be piped and baked.

Use a piping bag with a round or star tip or just mound the dough into a large zippered plastic bag that you’ve snipped one corner off of and pipe mounds onto the prepared sheet pan. Once in the oven, don’t open the door until at least 20 minutes into baking! The little puffs need that heat to puff up nicely. At this point, you can cool the puffs, then fill and serve, or pop them into a freezer bag and freeze them until you are ready to use them. Just defrost and crisp in the oven at 375F for 5 minutes before filling.

The pudding. Oh, the pudding. It’s luscious. Rich. Decadent. And you can either just sit there with a spoon and eat it right out of the saucepan or you can try to contain yourself, let it cool down, and pipe it into the puffs. Either way you will be left with a cup or so extra to do with as you may (the cook’s secret prerogative).

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Enjoy, chocolate lovers!

Ingredients for Mini Chocolate Pudding Puffs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Ingredients for Mini Chocolate Pudding Puffs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

Recipe: Mini Chocolate Pudding Puffs

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Makes 35 to 40 puffs

    Ingredients:

    For the pudding:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    For the puffs:
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
    Instructions:
  1. To make the pudding: In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Add 1 cup of the milk, whisking until a smooth paste forms. Slowly add the remaining milk and cream and whisk constantly until smooth. Warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or heatproof spatula, until the pudding begins to thicken and bubble, about 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

  • To make the puffs: In a saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat. When the butter melts, remove the pan from the heat, add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until blended. Return the pan to medium heat and continue stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball.
  • Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sift the cocoa over the dough and beat on medium speed until well combined. Continue to beat until the bottom of the bowl is lukewarm to the touch, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Occasionally scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and snip off a bottom corner (to create a pastry bag) or use a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. For each puff, pipe about 1 tbsp paste onto a prepared pan, forming a mound about 1 inch in diameter. Space the mounds at least 2 inches apart. Wet the tip of your finger and smooth out any top curls on the mounds.
  • Bake the puffs for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F and continue baking until golden brown, 5–10 minutes longer. Let the pastries cool completely on the pans on wire racks.
  • To serve, fit a pastry bag with a small plain or star tip. Fill the bag with the cooled pudding. Cut a small hole in the bottom of each puff then press the tip of the pastry bag through the hole and fill the puff with pudding. Repeat with the remaining puffs. Arrange the filled puffs on a platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
  • Mini Chocolate Pudding Puffs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
    Mini Chocolate Pudding Puffs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

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