Blonde Chocolate Pudding and Rhubarb Parfaits
A few years ago, one of our chocolate makers left a melter of white chocolate cranked up and plugged in over a long weekend. When we got back to work and took the lid off the melter, we were dismayed to see a vat of thick, tan-colored chocolate. Clearly, the white chocolate was ruined. But then we tasted it. The milk solids and sugars in the chocolate had caramelized into a dreamy, sweet confection that was something wholly different than anything we’d ever tasted. What we were sure was an unmitigated kitchen disaster turned into a very happy accident.
It turns out that we weren’t the only chocolatiers in the world to have made this mistake. We were just the only ones not to capitalize on it. Shortly after our unplanned experiment, Valrhona released its Dulcey Blond Chocolate, a caramelized white chocolate that they “discovered” in much the same way we did. Following Valrhona’s lead, there are now several other lines of “blonde” chocolate on the market.
7 ounces blonde chocolate (such as Valrhona Dulcey Blond), or plain white chocolate, chopped
⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped rhubarb (I cut mine into ¼-inch chunks)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Nutmeg or cinnamon for garnish (optional)
Place the chopped chocolate into a large bowl. Set aside.
Place the ⅓ cup sugar, cornstarch, salt and yolks into a medium sauce pan and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the milk and heat over a medium heat, stirring constantly.
Bring the milk mixture to a gentle boil, and cook at this temperature for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove the pan from the heat and immediately scrape the custard over the chopped white chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute or 2, then stir until the chocolate is melted and the pudding is perfectly smooth. Stir in the butter until it is completely incorporated.
Cover the bowl by pressing plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the warm pudding. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Make the compote: Place the rhubarb, ¾ cup sugar, and lemon juice into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the rhubarb is perfectly tender, about 10 minutes. Scrape the compote into a clean bowl, cover, and chill.
To finish the parfaits, place a dollop of pudding into the bottom of a parfait glass (or wine glass, or whatever you have). Follow with a spoonful of rhubarb compote. Spread each layer so that it completely covers the layer beneath it. Next, add the pudding. Then the rhubarb. Finish with the pudding. Grate a little nutmeg over the top (or sprinkle with cinnamon) and serve with a long-handled spoon.