Chocolate Pot de Crème with Candied Brioche Whipped Cream
Chef Gavin Kaysen of Minneapolis's Spoon & Stable created this dessert in honor of his grandmother Dorothy. "She used to make a big bowl of chocolate pudding and then set it in the middle of the table with a handful of spoons," he recalls.
Butterscotch pudding is traditionally made with butter and a little Scotch (the alcohol burns off during cooking). Pastry chef Lisa Sewall makes a supercreamy version that is a bit of a cheat—she uses butterscotch chips to simplify the recipe. The result is so flavorful, even purists won’t complain.
This recipe from the late, great cookbook author Richard Sax has everything one could ask for in a chocolate pudding—an intense flavor and a silky texture that's still firm enough to stand a spoon in. For the best possible pudding, use top-quality cocoa powder and chocolate.
Poppy, known for simple, seasonal dishes from chef Jerry Traunfeld, keeps a molecular gastronomist in the pastry station. Dana Cree uses techniques she picked up at the Fat Duck in the U.K. and New York City's WD-50. "I learned to divorce flavors from their original textures to create something new," she says.
This vanilla-flecked rice pudding is exceptionally easy and exceptionally delicious, thanks to the tangy rhubarb. Krista Desjarlais, the chef-owner of Bresca in Portland, Maine, gently poaches the stalks in red wine, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Perfect on the pudding, the rhubarb would be equally good with Greek yogurt.
Coconut Pudding with Pineapple and Candied Cashews
This dessert is called a soufflé; at Philipkutty's Farm, but it's much more like a rich, creamy pudding with deep tropical flavors and a sweet, nutty garnish. Here it's molded in an 8-inch square pan; the pudding can also be prepared in individual custard cups or ramekins. Cooking the pineapple mixture is key because raw pineapple contains an enzyme that prevents a pudding from setting.
Chef Louis Lambert believes that the best way to finish off a spicy meal is with a cool and creamy custard. He combined his grandmother's tapioca recipe and his own recipe for crême brulée to make this super-rich pudding.
For centuries, farmers have been growing rice in Senegal, on the western coast of Africa, where it's a staple food. Here, Marcus Samuelsson uses it to create an utterly luxurious pudding, brightening the creamy flavor with grated lime zest, vanilla and cubes of fresh mango.
Dean Fearing and Jill Bates, the pastry chef at Fearing's, collaborated on this spiced pumpkin pudding covered with meringue swirls. "It's what all Southerners love about their pies, whether they're coconut, chocolate or banana—the meringue,” Fearing says.
With its delightful contrasts of warm spicy pudding and cold vanilla ice cream, this version of an American classic is the ultimate comfort dessert. Homey as it is, though, it looks elegant when served in stemmed bowls. While Indian pudding is frequently stodgy, our version is soft and light and altogether tempting.