This intense chocolate pudding is a guaranteed hit at dinner parties; guests revel in the unexpectedness of a classic kid’s dessert in a grownup setting. I make it with both semisweet chocolate AND cocoa powder, fortified by vanilla, for intense chocolate flavor. Malted milk powder builds in an additional layer of richness and surprise; the pudding tastes like a malted milk ball. It couldn’t be easier to make, and gives a big bang for the buck.

Leave out the malted milk, and you have an essential chocolate pudding that can be flavored in endless ways; with ground Mexican cinnamon or black pepper; with orange or tangerine zest; lavender; a few drops of Cognac, Grand Marnier or Kahlua….(You’ll find more ideas here.)

Ellen Silverman
Ellen Silverman


Recipe/Method: Chocolate Malted Pudding

Carnation Malted Milk poweder can be found at most supermarkets and at Amazon. The pudding can be made to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

8 servings

4 cups whole or 2% fat milk

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) cornstarch

1 cup malted milk powder (optional)

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

6 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, blend 1/2 cup milk with the cornstarch. Add the malted milk powder, the cocoa, and salt to a small heavy saucepan; slowly whisk in the remaining 3 1/2 cups milk, the chocolate and the sugar. Heat over a medium flame, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted.

Whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Cook, stirring frequently over a very low flame about 10 minutes until very thick, and just begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Cool, stirring occasionally, until the custard is warm. Pour into individual 1/2-cup custard cups or small bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and firm.

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2 replies on “Weekend Treat: Chocolate Malted Pudding

  1. Hi Sally,
    i made this recipe last night.
    I followed the instructions exactly except that I used Ovaltine chocolate malted milk powder.
    I cooked this for almost an hour before it became even slightly thickened, and even after refrigerating overnight, the puddings are not setting up.
    Do you have any ideas as to why… cornstarch was not super fresh, either. Could it have been because of that or using the Ovaltine? Is there a way to “rescue” this batch? It tastes great!
    Many thanks
    Lynn K

  2. Hi Lynn, I double checked the recipe just to make sure there were no typos. This is a recipe I’ve done many times, so I can’t think of why it would not have set up. I don’t think using Ovaltine would have made a difference. Did it come to a boil? It needs to come just to that point to thicken, which should only take about 10 minutes.

    I did a bit of poking around and found this on Science of Cooking: Cornstarch must be cooked to 95°C (203°F) before thickening begins. At that point, it usually thickens fairly quickly and the sauce turns from opaque to transparent. When cornstarch thins after it’s thickened, it’s usually due to continued stirring. Once the thickening network forms, any agitation interferes with the setting process. The sauce thins when the starch network that sets and traps the liquid is broken. Liquid is released and thins the sauce.

    Found this thread on Serious Eats: Serious Eats: Cornstarch can lose its thickness after prolonged heating, and can’t always retain thickness after reheating. It needs to come up to a boil to thicken, but with both cornstarch and flour shouldn’t boil for an extended time. Thus, bring to a boil and immediately drop to a simmer.

    It sounds like you may have missed the window when the cornstarch had thickened properly, and then it lost its thickening power either by over-heating or over-stirring.

    In terms of a fix, you could try mixing in some cornstarch into a portion of the cold pudding (using the proportions of the recipe), heating the rest of the pudding in a heavy saucepan and stirring the cornstarch in…Cook 10 minutes until it just comes to a boil and see if that does it.

    The additional cornstarch may mute the flavors a bit but it should work.

    The other idea is just use the pudding as is AS A SAUCE for vanilla ice cream, or a cake… OR it might make a swell milkshake, put in a blender with some vanilla ice cream.

    Let me know what you end up doing.

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