NIBBY PUDDING


3 cups half and half
1/4 cup plus 2 T. cocoa nibs (Alchemist note: I would lightly grind these in a whirly blade grinder since the nibs are discarded)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup minus 1 t. cornstarch
scant 1/4 t. salt

Special equipment: Six 4-6 ounce ramekins or custard cups

In a small saucepan, bring the half and half and nibs to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 20 minutes.

Strain the half and half into a bowl, pressing on the nibs to extract most of the liquid. Discard the nibs.

In a medium heavy saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt with about 1/3 cup of the infused half and half to form a smooth paste. Stir in the remaining half and half. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring until the pudding begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring until the pudding begins to simmer. Simmer, stirring, for 1 more minute.

Remove from heat and pour into the ramekins or custard cups. Serve warm, cool, or chilled.