Beer in chocolate pudding seems weird. And whisking beer into half-and-half seems weirder still. At several points in the cooking process, I was convinced this was going to be a complete disaster, not to mention a waste of perfectly good chocolate and ale. Luckily, I was wrong. Black ale chocolate pudding is actually pretty darn good.
With the first spoonful, I can taste both chocolate and ale. After that, the flavors blend.
Loosely adapted from this recipe and this recipe.
1 cup skim milk, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup black ale, or stout
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a sauce pan, combine the half-and-half, ale, sugar, and 1/2 cup skim milk over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to simmer. (Note: the foam from the ale makes it hard to tell when the mixture is simmering -- I waited until the foam was reduced and the simmer broke through the remaining layer of bubbles on top -- this took about 5 minutes.)
Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to slowly whisk for five minutes.
Remove from heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder, then add the chocolate chips and let the mixture sit five minutes. Stir until the chocolate chips are fairly well blended with the ale mixture.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk with the cornstarch, salt, and egg. Ladle a little of the chocolate/ale mixture in the bowl, and whisk until combined. Then, pour the entire cornstarch mixture back into the sauce pan and whisk until smooth.
Return the saucepan to medium heat. Whisk slowly until the mixture returns to a simmer (this took about 10 minutes for me). Simmer 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla.
Serve warm (this is good!) or chilled (also good).