Grappa is an Italian alcohol made by distilling pomace, the organic material left over from winemaking. It is smooth but strong and brings a distinct flavor to the cream in this dessert.
Make Ahead: The pudding needs to chill for at least 1 hour before serving. The crumble can be made a day in advance and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. The cream can be whipped 5 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated.
Servings: 4 - 8
- For the crumble
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the baking sheet
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the pudding
- 2 2/3 cups whole milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- For the grappa cream
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons grappa (see headnote)
For the crumble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with a little butter.
Use a flexible spatula to combine the confectioners' sugar and butter in a medium bowl, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the hazelnuts, flour and salt to create a crumbly mixture. Transfer to the baking sheet, spreading it in an even layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Cool completely, then break the crumble into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
For the pudding: Whisk 2/3 cup of the milk with the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the cornstarch in small amounts while whisking to prevent clumping.
Place the chocolate chips in a large heatproof bowl.
Heat the remaining 2 cups of milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture begins to bubble, measure out 1/2 cup of it and whisk it into the cornstarch mixture to temper it. Pour the remaining hot milk-sugar mixture over the chocolate chips. Wait for 30 seconds, then whisk to melt the chocolate. Add the cornstarch mixture and whisk until incorporated.
Return the mixture to the saucepan; increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly, until it just comes to a boil and the mixture has thickened into a pudding. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and, while the pudding is still hot, whisk in the Nutella and butter. Spoon the pudding into individual cups or ramekins; refrigerate for at least 1 hour so the pudding can set.
For the grappa cream: Combine the cream and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form, then add the grappa and whip for a few seconds. Refrigerate for up to 5 hours.
To serve, top the pudding with a dollop of the cream and some of the crumble.
Adapted from "Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian," by Mike Isabella (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2012).
Tested by Doris Truong.
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