In the summer of 2003 I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in Scotland. Our accommodations were "self-catering" (translation: "comes with an equipped kitchen"), so we could eat some of our meals right at the apartment. I reveled in the local Marks & Spencer food hall which was stocked with wonderful ingredients and even more wonderful prepared meals. One of my favorite discoveries was a Greek-style yogurt that came in little glass jars, in flavors such as "Blackberry, Boysenberry and William Pear Yogurt" and " Strawberry and Cornish Clotted Cream Yogurt." Delicious!
On some level I knew that the yogurt was not quite equivalent to the non-fat yogurt choices that I usually stuck to at home, but really it wasn't even close - each of those little guys packed a walloping 900 calories. In blissful denial I simply enjoyed this indulgence, and couldn't resist tucking the tiny jars in my carry-on luggage for the journey home. They've occupied the back corner of the cupboard above my microwave, alongside vases that I seldom use.
When I saw the recipe for this week's Tuesdays With Dorie assigned recipe, the Split Level Pudding, I knew immediately that I wanted to portion it into glass containers so that the chocolate layer would be visible underneath the vanilla layer, and the little jars had a new use.
- I made 1/3 recipe of the pudding, enough for two small servings.
- Dorie's pudding method involves scraping ingredients into and out of a saucepan and a food processor. Back when my daughters and I made the butterscotch pudding, we used the food processor for part of the batch and a whisk for the rest, and learned that the food processor made pudding that is more perfectly smooth than the whisk.
- This partial batch had greatly reduced quantities of ingredients, so I used my mini food processor for some of the steps, but also used my whisk, because the mini wasn't quite big enough. My pudding was smooth, but I'm pretty sure it would have been silkier had I adhered to Dorie's method.
- Last week's P&Q post contained the very helpful suggestion to use the leftover chocolate ganache from the caramel tart for the base layer of this pudding. I had a couple different types of ganache in the freezer. I grabbed the last bits of Sweet Melissa's ganache and warmed it in the microwave so I could pour it into the bottom of the glass jars. I chilled it in the fridge, then carefully spooned the vanilla pudding layer over the chocolate. As usual I found it impossible to layer without smudging the glass.
- There were some white chocolate curls in my baking drawer and I scattered them over the top, but immediately regretted it. They just looked like lumps.
- Because my husband is allergic to chocolate, his serving was all vanilla pudding.
The vanilla pudding was the best I've ever eaten - a really really good vanilla pudding. My husband loved his portion, and I liked the vanilla part of my dessert. But the combination of vanilla and chocolate wasn't really successful, which I attribute largely to user error. I used a different ganache, and it was solid at refrigerator temperatures. I found the two different textures to be very distracting. I also wasn't sure I liked the combination of intense chocolate of the ganache with the lovely delicate vanilla flavor of the pudding.
If I need vanilla pudding I'll definitely call on this recipe, but I didn't like the vanilla and chocolate enough together to try the combination again.
Thanks to Garrett of Flavor of Vanilla for choosing this week's recipe - we have a new favorite vanilla pudding! You can find the recipe on his post or on pages 384- 385 of Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.