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Home's Chocolate Pudding

4 C. heavy cream
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (see note)
6 large egg yolks
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a large heavy saucepan, then remove pan from heat.

Place chocolate in large stainless steel bowl, add 1 cup of the warm cream and let stand until chocolate is melted. Stir chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in remaining cream.

In separate large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and salt. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture. Strain pudding through fine-mesh strainer and skim off froth on the top.

Pour pudding into 8 (6 oz.) ovenproof ramekins or ovenproof coffee cups. Place in a deep baking pan and put pan in oven. Add enough hot water to pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins, then cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake puddings for 50 to 60 minutes. When gently shaken, they should look set around the edges but not quite set in a quarter-size area at center. Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool at room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Serve chilled. Makes 8 servings.

Note: Bittersweet chocolate has sugar, vanilla and lecithin added to the pure chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. Semisweet usually has more sugar, but the two are pretty much interchangeable in recipes.

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