Meet my friend Cara (screen-left, pink top). On October 9th, she’s getting married.
A few weeks ago, at her wedding shower, we were chatting and I was asking her about her wedding cake.
“We’re not having a wedding cake,” she said. “I’d rather have a dessert I really like,” she explained. But when it came to choosing that dessert she said, “The one dessert I most want is this pistachio pudding with chocolate cookies and salted whipped cream I once had at Cookshop. But I don’t think they’ll give me the recipe.”
Enter the hero, yours truly.
You see, over the years, I’ve learned that restaurants aren’t formidable bastions of impenetrability. Sometimes, to get through, all you have to do is pick up your phone.
And that’s exactly what I did. I spoke to the woman who handles P.R. for Cookshop and told her about Cara and how Cara wanted that pistachio pudding recipe for her wedding. Before we knew it, we had a date to meet the pastry chef behind the pudding, Emily Wallendjack, last Thursday.
But first we ate some lunch.
I had this very rustic salad of preserved tuna, pickled shrimp, bitter greens, hard-boiled eggs and Pecorino:
And Cara had a puffy, sizzling frittata:
Sated, but ready for more, the time came to meet Emily and her famous pudding.
Out she came bearing this:
Isn’t that lovely? And way better than a wedding cake!
Emily, who we chatted with before diving into her creation, has a really impressive résumé. She spent time working in Paris at Pierre Hermé which, for anyone who’s been there (I have!), is the equivalent of a guitar player saying they studied with Jimmy Hendrix. She’s also worked with Johnny Iuzzini at Jean-Georges.
As for her pudding, there are only two specialty ingredients that it requires: (1) Sicilian pistachios (which make the pudding so green; you can find them at Italian Specialty stores, like Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market); and (2) Sri Lankan cinnamon, which, according to Emily, lends a heat to the dish much like the cinnamonny heat you find in Red Hots.
The resulting pudding is, to say the least, divine. Here’s the bride-to-be digging into it:
And now she has the recipe. And you have it too! Here it is below. A huge thanks to Emily Wallendjack for her generosity with this recipe and for making Cara’s wedding dreams come true. If YOU have a restaurant recipe you’d like for a special event or occasion, let me know in the comments. I can’t promise anything, except that when I track down the recipe I’ll be wearing my recipe-tracking superhero costume (it involves a leotard.) On with the recipe!
by Emily Wallendjack of Cookshop
[Note: you’ll need a scale to measure the dry ingredients, which is pretty standard for a restaurant recipe. A cheap one will cost you $15 and it’s a sound investment; Michael Ruhlman would agree.]
[Also: this makes a lot, so feel free to halve the recipe.]
• Pinch of salt
• 235 g sugar
• 65g cornstarch
• 5 ½ cups cream
• 3 ½ cups whole milk
• 450 g Sicilian pistachios, toasted
(Use Sicilian pistachios because they are very green. If you use regular pistachios your pudding will turn out brown.)
• 55 g Sri Lankan cinnamon, cracked and toasted
(You need to use Sri Lankan cinnamon because it is hot and spicy. When you put it on your tongue it should zing you like a “red hot” candy.)
• Bring the milk, cream, pistachios and cinnamon to a steep
• Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 20 minutes, to infuse the flavors
• Blend the base and strain it.
• Place the remaining dry ingredients into a pot and whisk to combine.
• Whisk a small amount of the liquid into the dry ingredients to form a smooth paste.
• Add the remaining liquid and whisk over a medium flame until it starts to boil
• Boil and whisk vigorously for three full minutes
• Once the pudding has boiled for three minutes, pour it into desired dishes and place plastic wrap directly on the surface
• Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator
Lightly sweeten and salt, to taste, some whipped cream and use to top the pudding
Choose a favorite crunchy chocolate cookie to crumble in the bottom of the dish you are using. Depending on how chocolatey you like it, you can add a layer of chocolate crumble to the middle of the pudding as well.
Top the whipped cream with some candied whole pistachios and serve.