I don't believe in pudding.
I believe it exists, but I don't subscribe to it. I can't support it.
I know this makes many people hate me. Perhaps just a strong dislike. Maybe indifference.
But the siren's call of a bowl of jiggly, wiggly pudding is lost on me. It lacks intention.
It just sits there, slumping into a container, full of apathy toward life and its role in the world. Pudding is an afterthought, even to itself. And so the silky goodness that many of you will cite as pudding's best attribute wears off with the third bite, and you realize that this pudding is dragging you down. Pudding is in a co-dependent relationship with you. Time to set boundaries and tell pudding to get its act together, to live a life of purpose.
Have a backbone, pud.
Then there are pots de crème. Pudding’s cool cousin. I call it pudding with integrity. Pots de crème have seen the world, know its pleasures, and aren't afraid to share them with you. They get it. And they want you to get it, too.
Dense, intense, cool, and smoother than it needs to be. We fell in love with pots de creme at Elysian Cafe in Hoboken, NJ. Dark-ish chocolate with Grand Marnier infused candied orange slices. You must go and order it. Now.
It is the singular dish we miss the most since we moved from Hoboken, and Karen and I set out to replicate it. This is also dead simple to make. Heat some milk. Chop some chocolate. You do want a fine mesh strainer for this if you want a really smooth consistancy, but your life will be fine if you don’t. Don’t stress.
Her Pots de Crème were fantastic, but the intensity was more, uh, intense than what we wanted. We knew milk chocolate was all wrong for this. Then Karen had the brilliant idea of doing 50/50 dark and milk chocolate. Perfect balance. 2 oz dark and 2 oz milk chocolate.
Then on to the clementine. This candying process is so incredibly simple. Don’t get scared by the amount of sugar required...most of it is staying in the pan and not going into the clementine. I like this recipe more than others because of the “raw” sugar included. It adds a depth of molasses-y flavor that pure granulated just can’t match.
Any type of orange will be fine. And you really do want these, even if you leave out the booze. Just pick a thin-skinned clementine or orange,and you’re good to go.
Scared of this? Then ask yourself if you can measure water and sugar. Yes, yes, you can. Can you slice a clementine? Yep. Can you trust yourself not to stir the bubbling cauldron of sugar so as not to make it boil over and destroy your hopes and dreams? Only you know the answer to that one.
Here’s the recipe from myrecipes.com. We skipped dipping them in chocolate. All we did was substitute in 1/2 cup of Grand Marnier for 1/2 cup of water (resulting in 1 c of water and 1/2 cup of Grand Marnier). You need a candy thermometer. Get a cheapo one from the grocery store if you don’t have one. Worth it.
Make extra clementines. You will eat them off the plate while they dry. Make sure you have enough left for the pots de crème. And say goodbye to pudding. You deserve better.