This impressive but easy Chocolate Budino is a creamy Italian-inspired dessert that takes pudding to a whole new level. You’ll fall in love with the first silky smooth bite!
If you’re looking for a fabulous, beautiful, impressive dessert that can be put together in less than 20 minutes (hands-on time), this Chocolate Budino is the name of your game. And the super-easy candied maple walnut topping is the crowning glory!
What is a budino?
If you’ve never had budino, you’ve been missing out on an incredibly delicious dessert that will be sure to be super popular with family and friends. Budino is a rich, creamy, silky-smooth Italian-inspired dessert that looks similar to an all-American chocolate pudding. But looks are where the similarity stops. One tiny taste of this decadent, restaurant-quality, dessert will reveal the stunning difference.
If you search, there are lots of chocolate budino recipes out there. This particular rendition was adapted from a recipe from Bon Appetit. I really enjoy Bon Appetit, but found that their recipe for this budino was more complicated than necessary. So I simplified things and streamlined their multi-step technique for making candied walnuts. Voila! This is definitely a recipe you’ll want to have in your dinner-party-worthy-everyday-easy arsenal!
How do you make this chocolate budino?
Honestly, it couldn’t be easier but you’ll need to stay attentive and follow a few important steps. I learned (so you wouldn’t have to) that this isn’t the time to multitask. Here’s how it works:
- Whisk together 6 egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl.
- Heat 2 cups of cream (or half and half) and a scoop of sugar in a medium-size, heavy-gauge pot until it’s just beginning to steam and you see a few heat bubbles around the edges of the pan.
- When the cream is nice and hot, s-l-o-w-l-y drizzle about half of it into the beaten yolk mixture. This is called “tempering”. Tempering, as described by Pampered Chef, “means to bring two liquids you plan to blend together to a similar temperature before combining them completely.” This will keep the egg yolks from scrambling when added to the hot cream.
- Once the yolks are tempered, the rest is pretty simple. Just pour the yolk mixture back into the pan and stir, stir, stir for 2-3 minutes until the mixture thickens a bit and coats the back of a spoon. I like to use a candy thermometer at this point for fail-proof results.
- Remove the pot from the heat, add the chocolate, and allow it to melt for a few minutes. Then just stir until well combined and silky smooth.
- Pour the luscious mixture into your prettiest dessert bowls and let the refrigerator finish up the magic.
The crowning glory
You can definitely enjoy this chocolate budino as is or with a simple dollop of whipped cream but the candied maple walnuts are crazy delicious, ridiculously easy to make and are truly the crowning glory, adding a delightfully crisp, contrasting texture to the rich, creamy budino.
A fun serving suggestion is to present this chocolate budino to guests with separate bowls of candied walnuts and whipped cream. Add a few mint sprigs then let them make their own pretty desserts.
So put this delicious chocolate budino recipe on your must-make-as-soon-as-possible list. You might not even have to wash the dessert dishes when your family/guests have finished dining. Of course, I’m not suggesting that anyone in your circle would lick their plates clean, but I’ve definitely had those types of partakers around my table when serving this fabulous dessert.
Cafe Tips for making this Easy Chocolate Budino with Candied Maple Walnuts
- This is a rich dessert, so it’s best to serve in small portions. I like to use mini dessert bowls or small glass jars. For photography purposes, I filled the jars to near the top, but normally, I would portion them half or three-quarters full.
- This recipe calls for 6 egg yolks. What to do with all those whites? I sometimes add them to a morning smoothie to increase the protein. You could also make Schaum Torte, a fabulous German-inspired dessert, Strawbery Meringues or these Flourless Chocolate Toffee Cookies.
- These mini Weck tulip jars are among my favorites for a pretty dessert presentation.
- This recipe calls for heavy cream or half and half. I’ve used both with good results. Heavy cream will give a richer, creamier texture but half and half also yields a delicious dessert, if you’re watching your calories.
- For those living outside the US, half and half is an American convenience product that’s a combination of half whole milk and half cream.
- I like to use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao bars for this budino recipe, but good quality chocolate chips will also work well.
- It’s super important when tempering the egg yolks to add the hot liquid really slowly, just a little drizzle at a time while continuously whisking the yolks. It doesn’t take long at all but it may be helpful to use a helper who can whisk while you drizzle.
- The other important step to ensure silky smooth success with this recipe is to stir, stir, stir during the final few minutes of cooking. The mixture will tend to get hotter around the edges and scramble the eggs if you’re not moving it around. (Don’t ask me how I know this!)
- All of the above being said, if you notice that your budino is not silky smooth, you can put it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumpiness.
- This dessert can be made a day or two in advance, making it perfect for entertaining. Once the budino has set after being in the refrigerator for a few hours just lightly cover the desserts with plastic wrap.
- The candied maple walnuts can be made several days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
- You probably won’t need all of the candied walnuts, but they are also great for topping salads and for snacking. I actually like to double the recipe as they keep well and are great to have on hand.
Thought for the day:
Who among the gods is like you, Lord?
Who is like You – majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory, working wonders?
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
This impressive but easy Chocolate Budino is a creamy Italian-inspired dessert that takes pudding to a whole new level. You'll fall in love with the first silky smooth bite!
- 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate see Café Tips
- 2 cups heavy cream or half and half
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- whipped cream for serving
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Break up the chocolate into smaller pieces if using bars. Set aside near the stove.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg yolks together vigorously. Set aside near the stove.
Bring cream (or half and half) and sugar to a bare simmer in a large saucepan and remove from heat.
Very s-l-o-w-l-y drizzle about half of the cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks, constantly whisking the yolks as you drizzle.
Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pot while stirring.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula and making sure to get into the corners of the pan until a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer registers 175°F. I recommend using a thermometer but if you don’t have one, the custard should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Don’t let it simmer or allow the thermometer to go above 180°F.
Turn off the heat and add the reserved chocolate, letting it sit until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the mixture well until all of the chocolate is incorporated.
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Lay a large piece of parchment paper out on a work surface.
Combine the melted butter, maple syrup and salt in a medium-size bowl. Add the walnuts and stir well to coat.
Turn the walnuts (and all of the butter/maple mixture) out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread to an even layer.
Bake for 12-16 minutes or until nicely golden, stirring every 5 minutes to redistribute and redcoat.
Transfer the walnuts to the prepared parchment paper, working quickly to spread the nuts apart. Allow to cool completely then store in an airtight container.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and Tips.
Adapted from Bon Appétit