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Katie's Cucina

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Today, we have Erin from The Law Student’s Wife sharing her recipe for Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding. I stumbled across Erin’s blog a year ago and have enjoyed it ever since. I mean who wouldn’t love baked pistachio pudding donuts or a 20-minute healthy ricotta pasta? She has a wide variety of recipes on her blog, and although we haven’t met in person I feel like we’ve been friends for years.

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Hey there! This is Erin Clarke from The Law Student’s Wife, and I’m honored to be guest posting for our favorite new momma, Katie. I discovered Katie’s blog when this outrageous stuffed French toast entered my life, and I’ve been a fan since!

Today, we’re going to my happy place: pudding. Pudding and my illustrious love affair begin with Snack Packs in the second grade. Back then, the fact that Snack Packs do not need to be refrigerated in the grocery store did not disturb me as it does today. All my sweet 7-year-old self cared to know was that pudding is creamy, dreamy, and deeply chocolaty. I had my priorities straight.

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Fast forward to college graduation. I moved into my first “grown up” apartment and was consequently responsible for feeding myself. Despite the most fervent of wishes, I couldn’t live on Snack Packs alone, and thus I took to the kitchen. I fell in love with cooking (and started a food blog in the process), but to this day the recipes that energize me the most are ones like today’s Lightened Up Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding: a grown-up twist on a childhood favorite.

Making pudding from scratch demands only a few bowls and some elbow grease. I love this Lightened Up Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding recipe because requires few ingredients, uses an egg to thicken the milk instead of heavy cream (which keeps it reasonably healthy), and tastes totally decadent. It’s also no-fuss. Rather than making two separate pudding recipes, we simply make a vanilla pudding base, save a little at the end, then stir in a copious amount of chopped dark chocolate + espresso to intensify the espresso flavor. Voila! Perfectly balanced, luscious dark chocolate pudding, for a fraction of the effort.

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Although this Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding was inspired by childhood, a few of my grown-up tastes make an appearance: velvety dark bittersweet chocolate, espresso, and speckly sweet vanilla bean. (I purchase my vanilla beans online here for a steal of a deal, but you can always swap extra vanilla extract instead.) If you care to stir in a bit of rum as well, I certainly won’t deter you.

My final adult flourish: chopped pistachios for texture and crunch. Salty-sweet desserts have my heart forever and always, and the pistachios are the ideal counterpoint to the sweet vanilla and rich chocolate pudding layers. The good-as-obligatory dollop of whipped cream is just because life is short, and I can already tell that we are going to be friends.

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding is my inner-second grader in perfect harmony with my late 20-something adult self. No therapy or yoga for this girl—pudding is my gateway to inner peace!

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding

Prep Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding


  • 3 cups non-fat milk (or the milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • Chopped pistachios, walnuts, or pecans for serving
  • Whipped cream, for serving


  1. Place a sieve over a large measuring cup or bowl; set aside
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups of the milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large heat-proof bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into the sugar mixture. Place the empty vanilla pod into the saucepan with the heating milk. (If you’re replacing the vanilla bean with extract, do not add it yet.) Very gradually, whisk the remaining 3/4 cup milk into the sugar-cornstarch mixture. Add the milk a little at a time and stir constantly so that lumps do not form. Whisk in the egg.
  3. Once the milk has boiled, slowly add it to egg-mixture a little bit at a time, stirring constantly (using a ladle can be helpful). Be sure to work gradually so that the egg does not scramble. Once all of the heated milk had been added, pour all of the mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and bring the mixture to a simmer (at this point, do not let it boil.) Simmer for 1 minute, stirring the whole time. If using vanilla extract, stir it in now.
  4. Pour all of the vanilla pudding mixture through the sieve into the bowl or measuring cup (this ensure the pudding will be very smooth). Return 1/3 of the strained mixture to the saucepan (this will become the chocolate pudding). Cover the remaining 2/3 with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the surface and refrigerate until fully set, about 2 hours.
  5. To the remaining pudding on the stove, add the chopped chocolate and espresso powder, stirring until the chocolate melts. Pour the chocolate mixture into a separate bowl, cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the surface and refrigerate until fully set, about 2 hours.
  6. To serve: Spoon the vanilla pudding into the bottom of individual serving dishes. Top with chocolate pudding. Serve sprinkled with nuts and dollop with whipped cream.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. 


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4 Responses to “Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pudding”

  1. Erin | The Law Student's Wife posted on April 18, 2014 at 10:20 am (#)

    So fun to be featured here! Thanks Katie and I feel like we’ve been friends for years too 🙂

  2. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) posted on April 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm (#)

    OMG this pudding looks sooooo silky and decadent and I love that it’s dark chocolate AND vanilla bean! so sophisticated and the best of both worlds!

  3. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. posted on April 20, 2014 at 1:55 am (#)

    This pudding looks so tasty!


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