recipe + photography KATE SHAFFER

Malted Milk Chocolate Pudding with
Crispy Meringue Crumbs

With at least another four months until Maine sees its first home-grown summer fruit, I’m still turning to my chocolate pantry for spring desserts. This meringue-studded pudding—creamy, cool and crunchy all at once—diverges from heavy winter desserts, while still managing to keep
the heavy spring chill at bay.

Do use milk chocolate; it allows the roasted flavor of the malt to shine through, and echoes the trademark flavor of a certain ubiquitous Easter candy. I use a darker milk chocolate like Caoba from Chocolates El Rey, or this one from República del Cacao. Both are smooth and creamy, with assertive cocoa flavor and perfect texture. Additionally, the República del Cacao is distinctively caramel-y. You can usually find the Venezuelan
El Rey brand at high-end gourmet food stores or Whole Foods Market. And while Quito, Ecuador–based República del Cacao is not available for the U.S. home consumer, you can find its caramelized milk chocolate here in 5.5-pound bags. Most important, both chocolates are Fair Trade and grown using sustainable methods.

Serves 8

6 ounces milk chocolate, at least 40% cacao
1½ ounces bittersweet chocolate
⅔ cup barley malt syrup
¼ cup cornstarch
Pinch of sea salt
4 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites at room   temperature
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
Whipped cream (optional)
Malted chocolate eggs (optional)

Chop the chocolate into ¼-inch pieces and place in a medium metal bowl. Place a mesh sieve over the bowl.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the malt syrup, cornstarch, sea salt and egg yolks. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it boils.

Simmer for 1 minute, then remove custard from the heat and pour it through the sieve over the chocolate. Allow the custard to sit on the chocolate for a full minute, then stir until completely smooth. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.

Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding; cover bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 275°. Line a sheet pan with parchment and spray parchment with oil.

Place egg whites in clean bowl of a stand mixer. Beat whites with whisk attachment on high until just frothy. Add lemon juice and beat whites until they form soft peaks.

With mixer on, add sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat whites until stiff and glossy.

Scrape meringue onto lined sheet pan and spread it to a ½-inch thickness. Bake meringue for 60 minutes, or until crisp and slightly golden. Turn oven off, prop oven door open slightly and allow meringue to sit in the oven to dry for 30–60 minutes. When meringue is crisp and completely dry outside and inside, remove sheet pan from oven and allow meringue to cool completely.

When meringue is cool, break it into small shards and crumbs of variable size. Remove chilled pudding and place a scoop in each of 8 parfait glasses. Sprinkle with meringue crumbs; top with another scoop of pudding. Sprinkle meringue crumbs, then top with sweetened whipped cream if desired, and garnish each parfait with a pastel malted chocolate egg.

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