serves: 6 - 8 servings
This delightful pudding is a fine example of the art of using leftovers to make something fresh and new (without evidence of recycling). Here, crumbled biscotti, chopped chocolate, and chopped hazelnuts are mixed into the warm custard. As it cools and sets, the dry cookies absorb and meld with the custard, but also contribute their flavor and texture. This recipe is one upon which you can improvise, using whatever sweet remnants you have on hand, whether ginger snaps or shortbread cookies, or bits of dry sponge cake or pound cake.
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1¼ cups heavy cream, plus more for whipped topping
1 cup milk
1½ cups plain biscotti, coarsely hand-crumbled
3½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup skinned hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped
⅓ cup cocoa powder, sifted
Line a 9-inch pie plate with plastic wrap, leaving a few inches overhang on all edges. Whisk the eggs with the sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan, set it over low heat, and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, and slowly pour about 1 cup of the hot milk-cream into the egg bowl, whisking steadily, to temper the eggs. When blended, slowly pour the tempered eggs back into the saucepan of milk and cream, again whisking constantly. Put the pan back over medium-low heat, and whisk steadily until the custard heats and thickens. Don't let it boil, though it should bubble occasionally. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until it is quite thick. Remove from the heat, and stir in the crumbled biscotti, chopped chocolate, nuts, and cocoa powder. Stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and all the ingredients are evenly blended. Pour the custard into the pie plate, and cover with plastic wrap, laying it directly on the top of the pudding. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve, remove the top sheet of plastic, invert the budino onto a serving plate, and cut into wedges. Top with unsweetened whipped cream and coarsely crumbled biscotti (if you have any left) or crushed hazelnuts; in season, strawberries or raspberries would be delightful.