Sunday, February 24, 2013

Budino by any other name...

While the Ex-Ex was away this week watching basketball games and hanging out with Son #1, the BFF and her hubby, Daddy-O, invited me to dinner at Pizzeria Toro in lovely downtown Durham.  This is one of my favorite spots.  We shared a kale-pine nut salad, parma ham, mushroom and eggplant pizzas.  They have a big oven and I like to sit as close to it as possible so I can watch the action (without getting whacked in the eye with the paddle, of course).  By the time dessert was mentioned, I was quite sure that I had no room whatsoever left.  Well, the BFF can be very persuasive, especially when it comes to chocolate.  (She has been known to have a fit of eatin' when chocolate is even mentioned.)  So, she ordered something called Gianduja Budino.  Since I only speak about five words of Italian, I had no idea what we were getting into, though, nor did I really care since I planned to pass.  Best laid plans.  This beautiful dish of chocolate was set in front of us with three spoons (two of which were used; Daddy-O abstained).  I think that we probably moaned as we tasted the first bite of smooth chocolate, hazelnuts, and sea salt.  Is there a more heavenly combination?  If so, I haven't found it.
I came home curious what budino actually is.  Maybe if I had actually said the word out loud after moaning, I would have figured it out.  Pudding.  That's right.  Budino is Italian for pudding.  Gianduja is a type of hazlenut flavored Italian chocolate.  This is what Wikipedia has to say about it--

Gianduja (or gianduia[1]) is a sweet chocolate containing about 30% hazelnut paste, invented in Turin during Napoléon's regency (1796-1814). Based on Gianduia, Turin based chocolate manufacturer Caffarel invented Gianduiotto in 1852.[2] It takes its name from Gianduja, a Carnival and marionette character who represents the archetypal Piedmontese, a native of the Italian region where hazelnut confectionery is common.

I googled the recipe.  It was compared to French pots de crème.  I found a simple recipe in my Williams Sonoma Essentials of French Cooking book that Son #2 gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago.  I didn't have any Gianduja so I opted for 60% Ghirardelli Intense Dark.

There are chocolate and hazelnut bars out there, but I wanted my budino to be smooth.  I will keep looking for Gianduja for next time.

Aren't egg yolks a beautiful color?  Reminds me of daffodils and spring.

My finished product--

Chocolate Pots de Crème

6 servings

4 oz. (125 g) semisweet (plain) chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c. (8 fl. oz. / 250 ml) heavy (double) cream
1/2 c. (4 fl. oz. / 125 ml) whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 c. (2 oz. / 60 g) granulated sugar
Boiling water
Garnishes (optional):  whipped cream, toasted chopped hazelnuts, coarse sea salt, confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C).  Have ready six 1/3 c. (3 fl. oz / 80 ml) pot de crème molds or heatproof ramekins and a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold the molds.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and the milk and heat until just boiling.  Pour the mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.

In another large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the granulated sugar until just blended.  Gradually whisk in the chocolate mixture until the mixture is well blended and smooth.

Divide the chocolate mixture among the molds.  Place the molds in the baking dish.  Pour boiling water into the dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the molds.  Bake until the custards are set, 35-40 minutes.

Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack and let the custards cool slightly.  Remove the molds from the baking dish and refrigerate until the custards are set, 15-30 minutes.  If you wish, top with whipped cream, sugar, nuts, or salt.  Serve at room temperature or cold.

Bon appétit, pudding/budino fans!

No comments: