Dronning Maud Pudding
The first time I had Dronning Maud Pudding was as a dessert in Norway on New Year's Eve. Since then, it's been something of an obsession around here. Which is fitting, because the story of Dronning Maud is all about obsession (which is overstating it a bit, but good for drama). Anyway, the story is that this pudding was developed by a Norwegian chef in R's hometown of Haugesund and it was originally called Haugesundsdessert. In 1906, Norway crowned its first King and Queen after seceding from Sweden. Tradition states that after the crowning, the new King and Queen, in this case Queen Maud (or Dronning Maud in Norwegian) and King Haakon (Kong Haakon), travel around the country. When they stopped in Haugesund, they were served this dessert, and Dronning Maud loved it so much that she not only asked for a second helping, but the pudding was renamed for her and saw its popularity blossom throughout Norway as a result.
I've tried making this pudding once before, but my experience with gelatin is admittedly limited, and it balled up becoming gummy, rather than incorporating smoothly into the cream. This time, rather than just dumping it into the cream, I took a slightly different approach which worked, and which I describe in the recipe.
I wanted to use the version of the recipe translated by my sister-in-law, but her recipe called for sheets of gelatin, rather than powder, and the sheets I found were evidently of a different size than what they have in Norway. At that point it seemed like a risk to try to convert it a million different times, so I found the same recipe in my beloved Norwegian cookbook. Since we were making this for a party, and since we have a rather large truffle dish, I double the recipe. Below you'll find the original proportions.
Dronning Maud Pudding
Ingredients from Arne Brimi and Ardis Kaspersen's Norwegian National Recipes, steps by me
4 egg yolks
8 ounces white sugar
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
Boiling water to cover the gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
1 bar chocolate, finely grated
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy and a pale yellow. Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow it to come to just warmer than room temperature. If it starts to set up, just whisk it with a fork.
In a clean, cold bowl, with clean, cold beater (in order to get maximum volume), begin whipping the cream. When it start to thicken, pour the gelatin in a very thin stream into the cream as you whip in order to avoid lumps. Stop whipping before it's quite done and add the cream to the egg/sugar mixture. Resume mixing once again until the pudding is smooth and well combined.
In a serving bowl, mound half of the pudding, then add a layer of chocolate, and then another layer of pudding. End with a layer of chocolate. Refrigerate overnight to allow it to fully set up.
UPDATE: The egg yolks in this recipe are uncooked. You should use fresh eggs from a reliable source, or you may be able to find eggs that have been pasteurized in the shell. If not, you of course shouldn't feed raw eggs to, say, pregnant women, the elderly or young children.