Man, am I glad that we live in the United States, where the term “pudding” means a sweet, custard-consistency dessert instead of a savory dish made out of the by-products of beef. (No, really, what are the English thinking??) And chocolate pudding is the best of them: smooth and creamy, rich and chocolatey. I love to make chocolate pudding at home, with a big box of My-T-Fine, either instant or the new-old-fashioned way of heating it over a stove and letting it cool. Jell-O instant puddings are easy and great in a pinch, but they don’t compare to My-T-Fine. (All of which are currently stocked to the brim in my house, because I still have bandages on my gums from dental surgery last week, and pudding is one of the best–and only–things I can effortlessly eat!)
Being the most popular pudding flavor (as well as the most popular ice cream flavor, and most popular anything, essentially), chocolate pudding is sold in a lot of places in New York City, and in new and inventive dishes. You don’t have to restrict yourself to just Puddin’, though I love it there, too! But you can try something a little more decadent, a little more sophisticated in the East Village. Even thoug the name of the bakery is cute and kitschy, Chikalicious Dessert Club is super serious about their products. I should know–for the past month I’ve come back to them time and time again for some of the best sweets on national food holidays! And Chocolate Pudding Day is no different. Here, you can find an “adult” chocolate pudding that’ll make you want to burn all your Jell-O packets. Technically, Chikalicious’s chocolate pudding is a ganache, made with super-swanky Vahlrona chocolate and mixed with cookie-crumbly chocolate streusel. But it’s soft and creamy, and almost fluffy, like a mousse. The deep, almost bitter chocolate makes this less of a sweet treat and more of a refined taste–perfect for the “adult” palette. Now Chikalicious needs to truly make this an “adult” chocolate and spice it up with a bit of rum, maybe? 😉
Chikalicious Dessert Club
204 E 10th St (between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
“If you make it to the menu, try their “puddin” flavors. The brioche bread pudding mixes sweet hints of vanilla in a brandy custard. Or, for a truly grown-up choice, there’s the adult Valrhona ganache chocolate pudding served with crunchy chocolate streusel bits that’s totally sublime. No matter what you choose, the Dessert Club menu won’t let you down.”–The Examiner
“It was very dark and chocolaty tasting and not sweet at all. More like a dark chocolate mousse but even smoother like a, well like a pudding, actually. At the bottom of the foil tray, below the scoop of pudding was a layer of “crunch” either made from crushed Oreos or stolen from the insides of a dozen Carvel ice cream cakes.”–Dessert Buzz
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I got the Adult Chocolate pudding, which I feel people normally would not get amongst other spectacular desserts that the menu highlights. BUT, this pudding… my gosh, it is something to die for. So airy and mousse-like, that’s just the way I like my pudding! I mean who wants to eat pudding that makes them feel heavy and crappy afterwards? My thoughts exactly. Absolutely no one!”–Candy C.
“Chocolate is my drug of choice. It numbs any negative feelings I have, gives me an euphoric sensation, and never leaves me w/any withdrawal symptoms. Well, maybe I beg to differ on the withdrawal part..I usually get another fix before I let it get to that point. On this particular day, I walked up to my choco-dealer and got an “Adult chocolate pudding”. My heart slowed and maybe even came to a stop for a few minutes as indulged and savored this treat. The crunchy choco-streusal bits were perfect w/the Valrhona ganache pudding. Overall, the pudding had a thick creamy and smooth blend to it with a subtle hint of bitterness.”–B G.
If you want a chocolate pudding that isn’t so “adult” and makes you feel like a kid again, head over to DessertTruck Works on Clinton Street. No longer a food truck, the DessertTruck Works still makes all those super-sweet, super-delicious treats the Dessert Truck was famous for–and has the accolades to prove it. The store recently won Zagat’s Best New Baked Goods award in the New York City food lovers’ guide, and was featured on an episode of Food Network’s “Throwdown.” Here, Flay challenged the DessertTruck Works to see who could make the best chocolate bread pudding–and DessertTruck Works kicked his ass! Definitely stop in just to taste the chocolate bread pudding that took the celebrity chef down. The pudding in this bread pudding is soft and warm, like a molten lava cake, and it’s complemented by a bacon vanilla custard. I’m so enjoying this recent influx of bacon-related desserts!
6 Clinton St (between Avenue B & Houston St)
“The Dessert Truck’s Throwdown w/ Bobby Flay finally aired last night on the Food Network, and in what shouldn’t have been a shock to anyone, the Dessert Truck’s chocolate bread pudding with bacon creme anglaise was the winner!”–Midtown Lunch
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“And this is why people get diabetes. I love their warm chocolate bread pudding with bacon custard sauce. FYI this was featured on Bobby Flay’s Throw Down so you know its good. The chocolate is warm & soft, almost like a molten chocolate cake but smooth like mousse. If a molten chocolate cake was to marry chocolate mousse, this would be its baby. Get it and you won’t regret it.”–Steph C.
“Wow- I hardly ever find a 5 star. But that is what their chocolate bread pudding is! I never thought I would like the taste of bacon sauce over chocolate bread pudding…But it was divine. The chocolate tasting like the inside of a lava cake…All of it blended so well and I can’t wait to visit again to try more…”–Alexandra C.
A totally different use of chocolate pudding isn’t soft, or custard-y, and you sure can’t put it into a cup! Perfect for those who like a little texture or substance to their desserts. The Two Little Red Hens bakeshop on the Upper East Side may be best known for their amazing red velvet cake, but they also offer a signature cake they’ve dubbed the Brooklyn Blackout. Instead of using all buttercream frosting to ice their chocolate cake layers, they fill the cake with chocolate pudding instead, making for a sweet, creamy surprise in the middle of an unassuming chocolate cake! And while Two Little Red Hens is a perfectly capable and excellent bakery, the Brooklyn Blackout would just be a plain chocolate cake if not for the pudding, which elevates it to something special and new. You can get the Brooklyn Blackout both as a whole cake (or order it by the slice) or as a cupcake, so it’s perfect to take on the go–maybe on your way to one of the other scrumptious chocolate pudding purveryors today!
Two Little Red Hens
1652 2nd Ave (between 85th St & 86th St)
“This dark and luscious number never fails to leave me intoxicated in a sugar coma, post-consumption. Regardless, I return to it over and over again. And no, there are never regrets. Tiers of chocolate cake layered with chocolate pudding, finished off with frosting and a smattering of cake crumbs. Too sweet? Of course! But in just the right ways that you would expect and want.”–Midtown Lunch
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“So first off the Brooklyn blackout cake, he asked if I wanted anything written on it and I told him what I wanted which he did effortlessly AND added a little extra touch! The cake itself tasted amazing! Its a dark chocolate cake with chocolate pudding between the layers! You can taste the ingredients, its not overly sweet and lets just say the WHOLE cake vanished in less then 4 minutes…seriously…and ppl were coming back around hoping someone had left a crumb…or two….”–Dena A.
” Once inside, I’d heard a lot about their signature Brooklyn Blackout Cupcake so I made a mad dash to the cupcake display. The Brooklyn Blackout is a dangerous chocolaty cupcake that comes with chocolate frosting and a creamy chocolate filling that ought to be outlawed. It’s just absolutely delicious! Moist with a topping and filling that’s like the lightest chocolate pudding you’ve ever had.”–Ray W.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!