puddin’ head

Image via Flickr user Navin75 under a Creative Commons license.

The last time my mother was in town, we took her to The Hominy Grill, one of our favorite Charleston restaurants, and a media favorite too– I know Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown are big fans.  We told her she absolutely had to try the chocolate pudding, as it was the best we’d ever had.  So thick it’s practically ganache, so rich it’s practically deadly, and so dark it bears almost no relation to the milk chocolate pudding cups most of us carried in our school lunchboxes, it’s one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.  It’s also one of Alton Brown’s picks for “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” as our waitress told us when we were there with my mother.  Alton knows his stuff.  This is pudding so good, Jon got a little embarrassing mmmmm-ing and ahhhh-ing in what was basically a chocolate pudding-gasm at the table, right there with my mother in the middle of the most polite city in America.

Today, I got a hankerin’ for some Hominy Grill chocolate pudding and thought I’d use Google to find something similar.  But it turns out it’s not a closely guarded secret, and I found a .pdf of the Hominy Grill chocolate pudding recipe from local food writer Holly Herrick (I just got her Charleston Chef’s Table cookbook and her Southern Farmers Market Cookbook, so check those out!).  It came out absolutely delicious, and a chocolate pudding-gasm definitely ensued.  Because I couldn’t find the recipe in easily linkable form, I thought I’d reproduce it here.  It seems to have been originally published Jan. 5, 2008 in the Charleston Post and Courier.

Hominy Grill Chocolate Pudding
chef Robert Stehling

  • 8 ounces dark, Belgian bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Reserve chocolate in a large bowl.  Separately, whisk 1/4 cup sugar into egg yolks.  Mix remaining sugar with cream and vanilla in medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Pour a little hot cream into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk, then pour the remainder of the cream over the chopped chocolate, stirring with a spatula until smooth.  Add the egg yolk mixture and salt, and then strain into a pitcher.  Refrigerate to cool.

Pour into 2/3 cup ramekins (I have no idea how much my ramekins hold, but it ended up being 8 ramekins full), place ramekins in a shallow pan half filled with water (water bath) and cook at 300 degrees for about an hour.  Chill for at least 3 hours before serving (we ate ours after only an hour and it was still delicious), and serve with a fat dollop of fresh whipped cream.

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