Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Like Tea for Chocolate

Having never been a chocoholic, I was nevertheless overjoyed to see Mark Bittman's recipe for a vegan chocolate pudding in last week's NY Times. E, however, is an avowed choco-fiend and recently threw out a hint that perhaps I could interrupt the long succession of eggy concoctions which have been emanating from our kitchen with regularity. Could I break the tedium with a chocolate-themed treat now and then?

Initially taken aback after realizing that not everyone shared my penchant for custardy desserts, I eventually recovered and consented to branch out a bit. Thus this chocolate pudding, appearing when it did, so providentially, was embraced heartily and easily found its way into my growing recipe file. Bittersweet chocolate, with its heart-friendly properties, along with silken tofu -its pillowy malleability a pleasure to work with- are the cornerstones of this recipe. It was truly a deus ex machina; an Athena, smoothing the tumultous waves that surrounded her beloved Odysseus as he made his way back home to his waiting Penelope in Ithaca.

Fair-haired indeed, Odysseus escaped unscathed from the Lotus-eaters; whoever ate their food - of lotus plant- would banish all thoughts of home and remain in Lotus-land forever. Tennyson described beautifully the state of mind of those who were mesmerized from partaking of the lotus-plant in the Lotos-eaters:
How sweet it were, hearing the downward stream
With half-shut eyes ever to seem
Falling asleep in a half-dream
To dream and dream, like yonder amber light
Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on the height;
To hear each other's whispered speech;
Eating the Lotos, day by day;
To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,
And tender curving lines of creamy spray;
To lend our hearts and spirits wholly
To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;
To muse and brood and live again in memory,
With those old faces of our infancy
Heaped over with a mound of grass,
Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn of brass.

With the chocolate god (or is it Mark Bittman) firmly on my side, I whipped up this Mexican chocolate pudding in no time (using 1/4 less sugar than called for in the recipe and the result still yielded a satisfying sweetness). Unbelievably rich, I found one spoonful enough (seldom the case for me where desserts are concerned). Paired with Keemun Golden Buds -itself with overtones of molasses and chocolate- the tea and pudding serenaded each other, each with its own chocolate-nature to reveal. With E finishing -with alacrity- my bowl of pudding, I nodded off into Lotus-land.


Veri-Tea said...

Cha sen, that recipe looks like just what I need - seeing as I can't have raw eggs (and hence regular chocolate mousse) at present!

I have to say I am on E's side regarding eggy desserts, though... custard is not something I like, unless my husband churns it into ice cream of course... :)

Cha sen said...


I had a hard time telling the difference between this pudding and real chocolate mousse. And this from someone with a lukewarm relationship with chocolate!