“Chock poopy! I want chock poopy!”

One of my earliest memories is of me, head thrust in a chair cushion, cajoling my mother to make “chock poopy.”

I was probably 18- to 20-months-old. But I already had firm ideas about what I put in my mouth. “Chock poopy” — aka chocolate pudding — was No. 1.

In my memory, it’s very late at night. It’s also the first time I realize I can get what I want if I’m cute enough. (Sorry, Mom.) I distinctly remember hearing my mother tell my dad that she could “whip up” some homemade pudding, which set me off on another woeful plea:

“Chock poopy!”

My parents have a photo of me from that night. I’m sitting in my high chair, pudding-covered spoon raised in triumph; pudding-smeared face all grins.

Yet as much as I loved chocolate pudding as a toddler, my obsession with it waned as I got older. Even with all that cocoa powder, it tasted a little bland. And it tended to leave my tongue feeling filmy.

As an adult, I never made it. The payoff simply wasn’t worth the trouble.

Then a year or so ago, a client of mine decided she wanted something chocolate and dramatic for her annual Christmas buffet. I sold her on chocolate pudding served in tiny shot glasses, arranged on a cascading tier of crystal trays.

The envisioned arrangement was definitely dramatic — too dramatic for plain old chock poopy. After scouring several cook books, I stumbled upon a recipe for a liqueur-spiked chocolate custard.

Made with bittersweet chocolate, half a dozen egg yolks and a generous helping of
Cointreau, this is pudding for grownups. The chocolate flavor is deep and dark; the liqueur cuts any cloyingness and adds a slightly boozy kick.

It has become the go-to pudding around our house. You can even find me some days with my head thrust in a chair cushion, whining to anyone who’ll listen:

“Cointreau pudding! I want Cointreau pudding!”

pudding plated

Chocolate Custard with Cointreau (adapted from Bon Appetit)

  • 1 3/4 cups milk (I use 2 percent)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur

Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

pudding eggsUsing an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until very thick, about 3 minutes. Add the cornstarch, and beat to blend.

Very slowly, add the milk to the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch, beating as you do it. When everything is well incorporated, return the mixture back to the saucepan.

pudding cookedPlace the saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, heat until it comes to a boil. It will be very, very thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until it’s melted and smooth. Stir in the Cointreau, stirring gently until it’s well-incorporated, then whisking to completely combine.

Transfer the pudding to a medium bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours.