We have all made mistakes in the kitchen. Burning or under cooking seem to be the most common, but there are all kinds of calamities that can happen, even to experienced cooks. I drop things a lot. My most famous mistake was while making sausage gravy for the Community Center Breakfast in the mountains where we used to live. It was almost ready, a huge skillet full of perfect gravy. I needed to just season it, and I always use that little bit of cayenne for flavoring. Well, the Costco sized container had never been opened, and I stood over the pan of gravy trying to pull the seal off. When it finally gave, I dumped a large amount of the cayenne… right into the gravy! I scooped out as much as I could with a spoon, but everyone was surprised by the spicy gravy!
Today I wanted to make a simple dessert of chocolate pudding. At the end, the pan is removed from the heat and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract are added. I reached up into the cabinet, opened the bottle and poured… Orange extract! I didn’t realize it until I caught a whiff of it as I whisked it in. Note to self: Always read your labels!
At any rate, I wanted to try and save it so I added vanilla anyway. I still thought it would probably be nasty. After scraping it into a bowl, I licked the spatula very tentatively…. and it was delicious! I mean really delicious! I put it in the fridge to chill and tasted it again. Beyond dreamy! Now, I happen to like orange chocolates, so I thought it was just me. But my hubby and Mama loved it too! So now I come to today’s recipe, Orange Chocolate Cream Pudding!
I use a basic chocolate pudding recipe, and the magic happens at the end!
Whisk 2 egg yolks for a couple of minutes, then whisk in 2T cornstarch and 1/4C whole milk. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine 1/2C sugar, 1/4C unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1-1/2C whole milk. Heat over med-hi heat until steaming and bubbles form around edges. Don’t boil!
Now very slowly drizzle hot chocolate into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Do it too fast and you’ll have scrambled eggs. When all combined, return to pot over the heat and bring to a rolling boil, whisking constantly. Turn heat down to a simmer, and whisk until thickened. Remove from heat. Now…. the mistake that invented an orange chocolate cream dream: whisk in 1t orange extract and 1t vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl, and press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface of the pudding so a skin won’t form. Chill at least 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream if you like, but this Orange Chocolate Cream Pudding is just amazing all on it’s own!
So: two lessons learned from Grammy today. First, always read your labels. Second, just because you think you made a mistake, don’t throw it away without trying it. You just may have invented something spectacular. If it is bad, start over. Don’t give up, and keep trying to be the very best cook you can be! Have Fun!