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Almost-Instant Chocolate Pudding

Native New Yorker, Fran Costigan is internationally recognized the innovative pioneering pastry chef who marries healthy eating with sumptuous tastes. The Fran Factor is her unique ability to transform traditional desserts into modern, healthful, and luscious vegan desserts that satisfy vegans and omnivores alike. In Frans recipes, nothing is missing except the dairy, eggs, white sugar, and cholesterol.

Frans desserts are suitable for people who are ethical vegans, lactose intolerant or allergic to eggs, reducing dietary cholesterol, following kosher and other religious diets, or living an eco lifestyle. Frans recipes use organic, fair trade, and wholesome ingredients to make rich, moist cakes, flaky piecrusts, delicious cookies and bars, creamy puddings, and much more.

A graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Institute, Fran worked as a pastry chef in both traditional and vegan kitchens before moving into the teaching kitchen over 20 years ago. Home cooks and professionals enjoy Frans lively classes, which include her Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive in New York City, and she presents demonstrations and workshops at events throughout North America and Europe.

Frans innovative recipes, from retro fun desserts to elegant vegan versions of the classics, are clear and concise, producing excellent results every time. Frans cookbook, More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally (Book Publishing Company, 2006), is designed as a complete course in vegan baking. Look for Frans highly anticipated new cookbook, Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy Free Desserts, (Running Press) fall 2013.

Fran has made her celebrated Chocolate Cake to Live For on Fit TV and her Organic Vegan Twinkies have been featured on BetterTV and ABCs Nightline. Her work has been profiled in numerous print and online publications including VegNews, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Veg Family, Vegetarian Journal, Vegetarian Voice, Flavor & The Menu, Desserts Professional, Caf Sweets Japan and Organic Spa Magazine.

An advisory board member of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, Fran is also a member of the New York Womens Culinary Alliance (NYWCA), the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR), the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), and the Authors Guild.

Dietary Restrictions

  • naturally_vegan


  1. Sift the organic cane sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt through a wire mesh strainer into a large saucepan. Slowly stir in the milk. Keep stirring until no trace of any of the dry ingredients is visible. The idea is to make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved before you turn on the heat.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken and is close to a boil. This can take as long as 12 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to get a full boil, but don’t let it be so high that the bottom scorches. As soon as the pudding starts to boil, it will thicken to pudding consistency. Immediately lower the
    heat and boil gently for another minute, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Gently stir in the chocolate with the silicone spatula until the chocolate is melted and incorporated.
    Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Spoon the pudding into a bowl. It will be set and ready to use in about 30 minutes at room temperature, but it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If you refrigerate it, cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap adheres to the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

Note: The cornstarch is crucial to get the right texture for this pudding. Using another starch thickener, such as my usual first choice arrowroot, would result in pudding with a soft and unpleasant texture.

Yield: 4 1/2 cups


  • 1 cup Wholesome! Organic Cane Sugar
    Organic Cane Sugar
    Buy Now Find In Store
  • 1/2 cup organic cornstarch (do not use arrowroot, see Note)
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 3/4 cups almond milk, coconut milk beverage, or soymilk
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate (59 to 62%), chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract