Yield: Yields 20 small bars or 16 rounds
The best way to eat pudding without a spoon. Extra chocolaty, creamy smooth, and slightly bittersweet pudding on just enough crust to keep the pudding off your fingers.
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In a heavy medium-large saucepan, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt to blend. Add about 3 Tbs. of the milk and whisk to form a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining milk and the cream. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a flat-ended heatproof spatula or wooden spoon and scraping the bottom, sides, and corners of the pan until the pudding thickens and begins to bubble at the edges, 5 or 6 minutes. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and rum and stir a bit faster to smooth out the pudding, cook the starch, and melt the chocolate, about 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape the hot pudding onto the crust and level it with one or two strokes of the spatula. Let the pudding cool, undisturbed (without mixing, jiggling, or spooning out a taste), at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate the pan, uncovered, until the pudding is completely cool. Cover it and chill for at least several hours or overnight. Use the edges of the foil to lift the bars from the pan and transfer to a cutting board.
Cut into 20 bars or use round biscuit cutters for rounds, as pictured. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, as you would pudding.
WOW! The texture of these is sooo smooth & creamy! My family said they would be happy just to eat the chocolate pudding in a ramekin without the base! Although the base does add a nice slightly salty crunch. Certainly a keeper!!
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