Last weekend I purchased the “Gramercy Tavern Cookbook”. I was enchanted from the moment I picked it up and decided this weekend I had to make at least one thing from the book. It’s no surprise that the desserts appealed to me more than most anything else so I decided to start there.

You really should buy the cookbook if you like good straightforward dishes with fresh simple ingredients. I can’t wait to cook my way through it.

My impressions on this recipe:
- Simple to make and straightforward. Didn’t take too much time.
- I loved the combination of cocoa and finely chopped semisweet chocolate melted in as the last step
- It’s way better cold than it is warm even though it was pretty delicious warm
- You definitely need the whipped cream to cut through the richness of this
- Holy crap, sweet brioche croutons are AMAZING. (Cubes of brioche sauteed in butter with confectioners sugar sprinkled over them cooked slowly, until they get crisp and carmelized. Completely amazing and perfect with this.

 

Chocolate Pudding

- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 1/2 cups of the milk and 3/4 cup of the sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch, cocoa and salt. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup milk, then whisk in the yolks.

When the milk mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and slowly pour about a cup of the hot liquid into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to temper it. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly; be sure to get into the edges of the pan to keep the mixture from sticking or burning. Boil for a full minute, whisking constantly, then pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl.

Whisk in the chocolate, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap placed in direct contact with the pudding and refrigerate until cold. Serve the pudding topped with the whipped cream and brioche croutons, and a pinch of sea salt.

 

Brioche Croutons

- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 pound Brioche or other bread (Challah works really well), crusts removed and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the bread, stir to coat, and sprinkle with the sugar. Stir gently and constantly with a spatula until the sugar melts and the croutons are caramelized on all sides. Transfer to a baking sheet and let cool completely.

(Modified recipes from the Gramercy Tavern Cookbook)