[Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

This recipe for chocolate polenta was inspired by a recipe that I've kept forever but have never even made. You see I've had a recipe for sweet polenta souffle in my recipe file for, seriously, over ten years. I've been meaning to make it, will never toss it out, but somehow the timing never seemed right, or I just didn't have polenta on the shelf. And even today, as I was leafing through my folder looking for inspiration, and came across this recipe once again, I still passed it by (today's excuse: no patience for a souffle). Instead, the recipe inspired me to stir up something simpler—a polenta pudding, and a chocolate one to boot.

Now I know most of us think of polenta as savory, which is still my favorite way to eat it, but polenta is absolutely delicious as a sweet concoction. Swapping in whole milk for water makes this pudding delectably rich, and as the starch granules of the ground corn cook and swell, the pudding takes on an appropriately thick consistency without having to add a more traditional binder such as cornstarch or egg. A touch of cinnamon and hot pepper lend a mexican-chocolate vibe to the flavors.

Though I expected the polenta to take a bit of time and stirring to cook, this polenta thickened up in no more than three minutes (the bag was just labeled "polenta" but I suspect that the no-name brand was instant polenta). No matter, it made the process even easier and it still tasted great. Served warm, this rich and satisfying pudding retains the slightly grainy texture of the corn and has a creamy milk chocolatey flavor. My sweet polenta souffle will just have to wait it out in my folder till the next time.

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Creamy Chocolate Polenta »

About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.

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