Anybody else want a s’mores party in your mouth? You probably know there’s only one right answer; look no further– this is the recipe for you. What a lovely way to end Baked Elements. When I joined Baked Sunday Mornings in September 2012, the group was about ⅔ of the way through Baked Explorations, and about to start on Elements. Although I loved Explorations, I have a special affinity for Elements, because I was here for the whole thing. I made all but 12 of the 75 recipes, most of which were terrific. It has been a wonderful journey through many ingredients, experiments, mishaps, successes, and lots of patience! I especially enjoyed the decadence of the chocolate, booze, and caramel chapters, and I was challenged by the banana chapter– I even overcame much of my aversion to baking with bananas! In addition to the recipes, I have truly enjoyed the camaraderie of my fellow blogging bakers, and we got the amazing opportunity to be recipe testers for BAKED‘s fourth book, Baked Occasions, which we’ll start baking from on November 9!
I was slightly dreading this recipe for S’more-Style Chocolate Whiskey Pudding with Whiskey Marshmallow Topping from the Booze chapter, only because my success with BAKED pudding recipes has been hit-or-miss… mostly miss. My puddings have sometimes turned out gritty or grainy or thin, but not this time! I was utterly thrilled to put this one in the ‘hit’ column– and then some. To describe this as ‘rich’ or ‘indulgent’ just doesn’t seem to do it justice; you have to taste the layers of creamy chocolate pudding, crunchy graham crumbles, and toasted marshmallow all at once. *sigh*
This recipe is fairly straightforward, though it requires a bit of time because there are three elements to prepare, plus two hours of chilling time. I made a recipe substitution for the graham crust, but everything else was the same. Just as BAKED’s brownie is, and always will be, my perfect brownie, my favorite graham cracker crust hails from Momofuku Milk Bar, and I’ll probably never use another one. Their version contains heavy cream and milk powder, which is something akin to MSG for baking (i.e. flavor enhancer), resulting in a richer, milkier crust. It’s also a little salty, which I love, especially paired with chocolate. (I confess to once eating a full batch of crust out of a tupperware box in the fridge… NO, not in one sitting, thankyouverymuch.) I wasn’t stoked on the cinnamon in BAKED’s recipe, so I swapped the whole thing out.
I made a half-batch of the graham crust, which turned out to be just the right amount. Preheat your oven to 300°F. After preparing the crust mixture, spread the clusters on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, stirring halfway through. They will be toasty and firm, but not quite hardened.
The chocolate whiskey pudding is quite easy to put together, though mine took a bit longer to cook than expected. I switched to my ball whisk once all the ingredients were incorporated because it gets into the edges of the pot better than a traditional whisk. Whisk the dry ingredients (sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt) in a large saucepan, then add the 3 egg yolks and whisk until the mixture resembles chunky wet sand. Whisk in the milk, then the cream, and put the pot over a medium burner. We are instructed to whisk the mixture constantly until it thickens and comes to a boil. It didn’t start thickening until 15 minutes in, and finally boiled after about 20 minutes of whisking. (It looks something like thin hot chocolate in the beginning, and will be thick enough to coat your whisk when it’s done.) Since some of my past puddings have had a gritty texture, I was getting a bit worried because I had lot of unmixed tiny flecks of chocolate floating around, but they gradually melted away, and by the time my mixture was thickened, they were long gone.
Once the thickened pudding base has boiled for 30 seconds, remove it from the heat and continue to stir for another 15 seconds. Then add a generous 8 ounces of chopped chocolate, a shot of whiskey, and a pat of butter– HOW COULD THIS BE BAD?! Whisk until the additions are incorporated and the pudding is smooth. It should be thick, dark, and glossy. And… there was not a grain to be seen! Let the pudding cool for about 10 minutes, but make sure to stir it occasionally, as it starts to form a skin immediately.
A few words about chocolate and whiskey: first of all, use the best possible chocolate that you can afford, as in any chocolate-centric recipe. I’ve sometimes been burned when using good chocolate for experimental recipes, but this time the gamble paid off. Instead of using my go-to Guittard 61%, I wanted something a little darker, so I pulled out the TCHO 66% Dark Chocolate Baking Drops, which were perfect here. As for the whiskey, I’ve been instructed by my Irish husband that there is one, and only one, correct choice for whiskey, which is Jameson. That’s all I have to say about that.
Once your pudding has cooled a bit, you can start assembling your dishes. I used 2 large, clear glass ice cream dishes and 4 ceramic ramekins, and I had just enough pudding and graham crust. Use half of the pudding for the bottom layer in each dish. Divide the graham crumbles evenly on top of the pudding, then layer the remaining pudding to cover. Gently press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of each pudding cup and place them in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, you’ll make the whiskey marshmallow topping, which is essentially a French meringue. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup, and whiskey in the bowl of a stand mixer, then place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk by hand until the mixture reaches 160°F. The book says it should take about 6 minutes; I whisked for 12 minutes and couldn’t get it past 148°F, but my mixture was thick and white, so I figured it was fine.
You’ll then put the bowl back on the mixer and whisk to stiff peaks. I had a feeling it wouldn’t take long since the mixture was already far along from hand-whisking, and sure enough, it only took about 3 minutes. It didn’t have a whole lot of flavor, so I added ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and mixed again for several seconds.
Now you’ll top the puddings with that thick, sticky, gooey marshmallow. Use a large spoon or scoop to build a swirly mound on each one and THEN –the best part– toast those white caps! I love my kitchen torch– it makes things extra delicious. 🙂
There’s really no surprise here… this chocolaty, boozy pudding concoction is nothing short of incredible, friends. A little goes a long way– like I said, it is super decadent. The balance of flavor and texture is, well, perfect. The velvety chocolate with the slightly salty graham crust and the airy, toasted meringue takes the s’mores trifecta to new heights; there are few things that I adore more than this combination. I’m not generally a huge fan of boozy desserts, but there’s really just a hint of the whiskey– it gives the whole thing a little grown-up je ne sais quoi. Frankly… this is one SEXY little dessert.
You can make these puddings partially ahead of time; just make the meringue right before serving. It’s a perfect dish to impress your special someone, or serve after a dinner party, or celebrate a joyous event… such as watching my San Francisco Giants CRUSH the Royals in Game 4 of the World Series!! 🙂 You can find the recipe for S’more-Style Chocolate Whiskey Pudding with Whiskey Marshmallow Topping at Baked Sunday Mornings and see how the other bakers fared with this, our very last recipe from Baked Elements. If you love BAKED’s cookbooks and have a blog (or want to start one), consider joining our awesome group for Baked Occasions!
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2014.