Five Days of Cinco de Mayo: The Dessert

8690385110 49941bc647 z Five Days of Cinco de Mayo: The Dessert

Mexican chocolate pudding topped with sweet pepitas is my choice of  Cinco de Mayo dessert this year. A classic chocolate pudding goes Mexican-style with a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne. Pepitas, initially introduced in a pumpkin seed salsa recipe to kick off the week, now get the sweet treatment courtesy of sugar and agave nectar.

If spiced chocolate pudding does not appeal to your taste buds, simply omit the cinnamon and cayenne pepper to enjoy a classic chocolate pudding. As for the pepitas, they are as delicious scattered across a dish of ice cream, oatmeal or fresh fruit as they are pudding. Or just enjoy them by the handful. I definitely did, and I enjoyed every bite.

Thanks for joining me for Cinco de Mayo week. Enjoy a happy weekend!

8689263575 10c7347150 z Five Days of Cinco de Mayo: The Dessert

Day 1: The Appetizer - Pumpkin Seed Salsa
Day 2: The Main Dish - Mexican Noodle Casserole
Day 3: The Side Dish – Baked Mexican Style Beans
Day 4: The Drink – Michelada
Day 5: The Dessert
Five Days of Cinco de Mayo: The Dessert
Serves: 6
  • For the Pudding
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 6 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used dark chocolate)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • For the Pepitas
  • 2 cups raw (green) pepitas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Whisk together the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler (or a dish – not Pyrex – set above a saucepan filled with a bit of water).
  2. Slowly whisk in the milk until fully incorporated with the dry ingredients.
  3. Bring the water in the double boiler to a simmer, and occasionally whisk the ingredients on top to ensure they remain incorporated.
  4. Add the chocolate when the mixture thickens to the point that it coats the back of the spoon, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Stir the chocolate in for until the pudding is smooth and thickened, about two to four minutes.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne.
  7. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps (don’t stress if you do not have a strainer- you will just enjoy the occasional lump in the pudding) and into a serving bowl.
  8. Pour into serving dishes and refrigerate at least 30 minutes until soft set. To prevent a skin from forming on the pudding, cover the top of the pudding itself with plastic wrap before refrigerating. If you like the pudding skin, simply cover the top of the dish with plastic wrap.
  9. While the pudding sets, prepare the pepitas by stirring them together with the olive oil and agave nectar followed by the sugar.
  10. Transfer the pepitas into a skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure you get all of the sugary mixture into the skillet as well.
  11. Stir constantly until the pepitas are fragrant and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about two to four minutes.
  12. Spread the warmed pepitas across a sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool.
  13. Before serving, heap a few spoonfuls of the pepitas onto the dishes of pudding.

My Silver Medal Dessert: Tiramisu Bread Pudding

IMG 4702 Edited My Silver Medal Dessert: Tiramisu Bread Pudding

One week later, I have a bit of a problem. Last Tuesday night, I sat blogging about my new job and what may be the strangest cupcakes I ever baked. Tonight, I have a bit of writer’s block that has lasted about a week now.

The thing is, I am now writing for a living. What started as a passion, a hobby if you will, is now how I earn the money I need to keep a roof over my head. And since I’m just getting started, I don’t have a lot left in my writing tank by the end of the day.

I have also been spending my time watching an obscene amount of the Olympic Games. I am absolutely addicted to anything and everything Olympics. This is a common occurrence every time they roll around, and I love it. A friend once described the Olympics as the world’s holiday, and I couldn’t agree more.

IMG 4712 Edited e1344384528934 My Silver Medal Dessert: Tiramisu Bread Pudding

This morning I watched a news show segment about how powerful expectations are when it comes to results. For example, we all likely know by now how disappointed McKayla Maroney was with the silver medal she won for her individual vault. And if the men’s basketball team does not win the gold, their entire Olympic experience may be considered a failure. Was Woody Hayes on to something when he said, “Without Winners, there wouldn’t even be any civilization.”

Can you imagine? Being so good that winning a freaking silver medal is akin to losing? The news anchor conducting the segment asked a couple from Ireland who were in London how they would feel if an Irish athlete won a silver medal. “We’d be thrilled,” they exclaimed!

IMG 4706 Edited e1344385105970 My Silver Medal Dessert: Tiramisu Bread Pudding

I love watching Olympic volleyball (both indoor and beach, men’s and women’s). In my mind, I harbor some deep delusion that I could play a point – not a set, not a match, just a point – with any of these players. As a sub-par volleyball player at best, what they are able to do is absolutely amazing. But my dark horse favorite sport to watch is diving. Fortunately, I harbor no illusions whatsoever that I could do much more than a swan dive.

IMG 4717 Edited My Silver Medal Dessert: Tiramisu Bread Pudding

During the games, my silver medal dessert is Tiramisu. It loses the gold medal to Key Lime Pie every time. In an effort to try an old favorite in a new way, I turned to a recipe for individual Tiramisu Bread Puddings.

If you love the taste of coffee in your dessert, this bread pudding is a must try. If not, then I leave you a thought from Marilyn vos Savant, “Being defeated is often only a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.”

5.0 from 1 reviews

Tiramisu Bread Pudding
Serves: 8
  • For the Bread Pudding
  • 1⅓ cups milk
  • 1¼ cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 cups torn white bread slices (10-12 slices)
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • For the Cream Cheese Topper
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  1. In large bowl stir together milk, whipping cream, and coffee crystals until the crystals are dissolved.
  2. Reserve 1 tablespoon milk mixture and set aside.
  3. Stir the eggs, sugars, and vanilla into the milk mixture.
  4. Add the bread pieces and stir until moistened.
  5. Evenly divide the mixture among eight, ungreased 6-ounce ramekins, filling nearly, but not quite, to the top.
  6. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet or in a baking pan, then bake at 375 degrees F until puffed and set, about 30 minutes. A knife inserted near center of a bread pudding comes out clean.
  7. In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar and reserved 1 tablespoon of the milk mixture.
  8. Stir until smooth and drizzle over bread pudding.
  9. Dollop with cream cheese topper.
  10. To make the cream cheese topper, beat whipping cream, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium until soft peaks form.


Ciao! Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino

IMG 4582 Edited Ciao! Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino

If my weekend were up for a grade, I would say it earned a B. On Friday, I enjoyed a lovely dinner at The Liberty with two equally lovely friends. In response to my order, the Silver Queen Biquse, Southern Seafood Boil, and Salted Caramel Budino, the waitress exlaimed “all B’s!” “Yes, that is neat! Now if only B‘s meant money,” I replied.

Ever the optimist, Susan piped up, “It does! Billionaire!” Mary K, always the realistic, chimed in Broke!” In response to their foolishness, I ordered another beer to cope. Funny none of us recalled, “It’s All About The Benjamins.”

The weekend of B‘s continued when I bought a bike. Which I promptly wrecked on its inaugural ride, resulting in a bruise. (I’d like to say the wreck occurred because I push the envelope, but really, I just lack coordination.) I rode my bike to the library to pick up a book I looked forward to reading, “Bloom!” It was not at all what I had hoped, so that left me feeling bummed.

Now that you are sufficiently bored, let’s get to the good stuff. The Budino.

IMG 4534 Edited e1343525160727 Ciao! Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino

I had neither heard of nor enjoyed a budino prior to The Liberty’s Salted Caramel Budino, but it was so good I decided to recreate a budino with cherries for my entry into the OXO Cherry Recipe Contest.

Budino is simply the Italian word for pudding. The Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino I created is a layer of chocolate cookie crumbs, cheesecake pudding, and cherry syrup flavored with amaretto and brown sugar. It’s topped with a touch of vanilla whipped cream and, of course, a cherry.

I layered my Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino’s in .25L canning jars. An added bonus of using canning jars is the budinos travel well. Simply screw on the tops to bring the desserts to your next picnic or potluck.

Depending on the vessel you use, you may need to adjust the measurements of each layer I included in the below recipe. I found it easiest to use an ice cream scoop, rather than a measuring cup, to neatly layer the ingredients in the jar.

IMG 4552 Edited e1343529776849 Ciao! Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino

The cherry-amaretto syrup is unique to the recipe, but the remaining layers can be homemade or store-bought to assemble in a pinch. I baked my own chocolate wafer cookies and made my own vanilla whipped cream, but I relied on a boxed cheesecake pudding mix.

Someday I might attempt to make this dessert with homemade pudding. Another day, I might use crushed chocolate graham crackers or chocolate sandwich cookies for the cookie crumb layer, and top the budinos off with a dollop of whipped cream topping from a tub or can.

If making homemade chocolate wafer cookies, the recipe below yields about 1 cup of additional cookie crumbs that can be saved for a second round of budinos. Once I tasted these, I was certainly thinking about a round two! Ciao!

IMG 4521 Edited Ciao! Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino

Cherry Budino
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
  • For the Chocolate Wafer Cookies
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • 7 tablespoons butter, softened slightly
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Pudding
  • 1, 3.4 oz box cheesecake flavored pudding mix
  • 1¾ cup whole milk
  • For the Cherry-Amaretto Sauce
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup amaretto
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • For the Whipped Cream
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • For the Garnish
  • 4 whole cherries
  1. To make the chocolate wafer cookies, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the bowl.
  3. Use a fork or pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture.
  4. Add the milk and the vanilla and use a hand mixer or wooden spoon to stir until the dough begins to clump. Resist the urge to add additional liquid; the dough will come together as you stir.
  5. Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface and knead a few times to ensure the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  6. Form the dough into a log and wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about one hour.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut the log into slices about ¼-inch thick.
  8. Place the dough slices on parchment-lined baking sheets. The cookies will spread a bit, so be sure to leave space between the disks of dough.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet from back to front halfway through baking.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool on wire racks.
  11. Once cool, use a food processor to turn the cookies into a fine crumb.
  12. Place ¼ cup chocolate cookie crumbs in each jar.
  13. Prepare the cheesecake pudding by whisking 1¾ cup whole milk into the dry pudding mixture for two minutes.
  14. Divide the pudding evenly (about ¼ cup) among the jars, layering the pudding on top of the chocolate cookie crumb mix.
  15. Prepare the cherry-amaretto sauce by pureeing the chopped and pitted cherries in a food processor until nearly smooth.
  16. Place the cherry puree in a small saucepan along with the amaretto and brown sugar.
  17. Simmer over low to medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 12-15 minutes.
  18. Allow the cherry sauce to cool to room temperature, then divide evenly (about 2 tablespoons) among the jars, layering the cherry sauce on top of the cheesecake pudding.
  19. Prepare the whipped cream by beating the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  20. Divide the whipped cream evenly (about 2 tablespoons) among the jars, layering the whipped cream on top of the cherry-amaretto sauce.
  21. Garnish each budino jar with a cherry.
The chocolate wafer cookie recipe will yield about 1 additional cup of cookie crumbs. I have the most luck making my own whipped cream when the bowl, beaters and cream are very cold. I typically place my mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer to chill for about 5 minutes before whipping the cream.