My grandmother Lola used to bribe my brother and I with this recipe: “First do some chores, then I’ll make you dessert”. Her recipe was a little more straight forward than this, and I actually never had the opportunity of writing it down while growing up…

Once I opened my little restaurant in Brooklyn it felt only natural to channel some of my heritage and treat my patrons to one of my very favorite desserts ever, but not before I tricked the recipe a bit and made it slightly more of an adult treat!


Serves: 6 / Prep time: 30 minutesCook time: 6 – 8 mins / Refrigeration Time: 3 hrs 

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup espresso coffee
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, rough chopped


  1. Add the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt to a large saucepan with a curved bottom; whisk to remove any lumps.
  2. Pour in the coffee, milk, heavy cream, vanilla bean seeds and egg yolks, and whisk again until smooth and well mixed.
  3. Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. (While whisking, make sure to pay attention to the bottom and sides of the saucepan).
  4. Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and stir to melt.Pour the now thickened pudding through a fine mesh sieve into a 4-cup measuring cup.
  5. Divide the pudding between six 6-ounce glass jars or serving cups. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing against the surface of each pudding to keep a skin from forming.
  6. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and set, at least 3 hours.
  7. Serve the budino topped with freshly whipped cream and shaved chocolate.