When I was growing up, dessert at Thanksgiving and all family occasions was Aunt Grace’s Chocolate Pudding. The recipe had come down in my mother’s maternal line since the late 19th century. When they were children in Illinois, my grandmother Ruth Potter Worley and her family shared holiday meals with the family next door, and “Aunt Grace” (the neighbor) always brought this for dessert.
Aunt Grace’s Chocolate Pudding always makes me think about legacy and remembrance. You won’t find Aunt Grace in my family tree, but this vintage Norwegian farmer’s wife is remembered fondly probably 100 years after her death. ((I know she was Scandinavian because I have found this dessert in Norwegian connections.)) On the other hand, Aunt Grace’s husband is long forgotten. I think women have a better opportunity for remembrance, between passing down our needlework and our recipes and our folk remedies.
In the 30s, my great-aunt Maude (my grandmother’s sister) sized down the orig. Chocolate Pudding recipe to fit a one-quart mold. In so doing, the current recipe calls for one pkg Knox gelatin PLUS 1 teas. from a second pkg. Remember that before Knox came out with the little packages, ladies purchased their gelatin in bulk. ((I have always said that you can tell “true” Potter women, because we all have half-opened Knox gelatin packages in our pantries.))
My mother further altered the recipe by using peppermint extract instead of vanilla ((a change that is anathema to me, but if it speaks to you, go for it!)). My aunt always uses an electric beater just before pouring into the mold. This makes the chocolate color more consistent, but frankly, I like the little lumpy bits of chocolate that are part of the original. Having said that, I’m no traditionalist: In this age of Death by Chocolate I have increased the amount of chocolate to the quantities below.
Now that you know that, I will share the recipe. And you know it HAS to be good, because it has so few ingredients. Go for it!
Aunt Grace’s Chocolate Pudding
Soften 1 pkg Knox gelatin plus 1 t. gelatin (from a second pkg) in 1/4 cup water. Heat at low temperature (a double boiler helps) the dissolved gelatin in 3 cups of milk. Add three squares baking chocolate (squares are 1 oz each), 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 t. salt. When smooth, pour over 2 well-beaten eggs. Cook over medium heat until consistency is thick, like soft custard. Do not boil. Add 1 t. vanilla extract. Pour into 1 qt mold and chill until set. Serve with whipped cream.