I remember reading about a study that demonstrated how forbidding foods triggers cravings. A group of schoolchildren with an equal liking for raisins and dried mango had access to one of them restricted.
Within a very short time, the denied snack was in much greater demand, with some children resorting to violence to get their hands on the forbidden fruit. Which may explain my childhood obsession with canned pudding…
My mum was a good home cook who prepared healthy meals from scratch, made her own granola and subscribed to Prevention magazine. But it was the 1970s and convenience food was having a moment. Cup-a-Soup, Kraft Dinner, Tang, Shake and Bake and Jello all found a place in her pantry. But to my intense frustration, she flatly refused to buy canned pudding.
Looking back, I’m not sure what her objection was. Possibly they were expensive or packaging individual portions of pudding seemed wasteful. Whatever the reason, her intransigence turned Hunts Snack Pack chocolate pudding into something of an obsession.
Even now, I can remember the sound the top made as you peeled it back, and the slightly metallic tang detectable beneath the bland chocolate creaminess. On the rare occasions I did get my hands on one, I licked that can so clean it’s a wonder I didn’t slice my tongue off.
I don’t know if they still exist, but I doubt I’d buy them for my kids either. Especially when it’s so easy to make chocolate pudding from scratch.
- 6 Tb cocoa powder
- 3 Tb cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup double cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Sift the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt into a bowl. Stir in the double cream, mixing until fully combined.
- Add the egg yolks and mix again.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together the milk and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, removing from the heat when the milk starts to boil.
- A little at a time, whisk half the hot milk into the cocoa mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.
- Now whisk the chocolate mixture back into the remaining hot milk in the saucepan.
- Set the saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking steadily. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for a further two minutes, whisking vigorously.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Pour the pudding into a shallow baking dish. Place a piece of clingfilm directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming as the pudding cools.
- Refrigerate the pudding for at least an hour. Before serving, remove the clingfilm and whisk again.