Recipe: Emeril's Chocolate Pudding Extravaganza

Valentine's Day is here, and nothing says love quite like a chocolate pudding extravaganza courtesy of our good friend Emeril Lagasse -- except for maybe his flourless chocolate cake.

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Emeril's Chocolate Pudding Extravaganza

Ingredients:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 large egg yolks
2 cups sugar
½ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
7 cups milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
3 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
4 cups heavy cream
½ cup confectioners' sugar plus 3 cups sifted
16 ounces cream cheese, softened

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

To make the pudding, melt the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates in the top of a double-boiler, or in a metal bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring, until smooth. Remove from the heat.

Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl.

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk in a stream, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly to keep lumps from forming. Remove from the heat.

Add 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the yolks and whisk until smooth. Add the beaten yolk mixture to the saucepan with the hot milk and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the melted chocolate, unsalted butter, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate to cool.

To make the crust, combine the flour, salted butter, and walnuts in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Using your fingers press the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom and coming a little bit up the sides. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

To make the cream cheese filling, combine 2 cups cream, ¼ cup confectioners' sugar, and ¾ teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Combine cream cheese and 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar in a large bowl and cream using an electric mixer. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until just combined. Reserve for pudding assembly.

To make whipped cream topping combine remaining 2 cups cream, remaining ¼ cup confectioners' sugar, and remaining ¾ teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until soft peaks form. Reserve for pudding assembly.

When ready to assemble pudding, spoon chocolate pudding into prepared dish over walnut crust. Top with the cream cheese filling, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Garnish with whipped cream just before serving.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, originally appearing in "Emeril's Potluck," William Morrow Publishers, 2004, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

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