Chocolate Pudding, Hobo Steak, Crystallized Grapes

DEAR SOS: Would you please try to get Vince & Eddie’s in New York City to part with their chocolate pudding recipe? I can’t stop thinking about it.


DEAR CHARLES: Lucky you. Executive chef Scott Campbell was happy to share the recipe.



1 quart milk

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup sugar

Dash salt

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 2/3 cups bittersweet chocolate, melted

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons vanilla

Whipped Cream

1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts

6 sprigs mint

Combine milk, cocoa, sugar, salt and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Combine chocolate, butter and vanilla in bowl. Pour milk mixture over chocolate mixture. Mix well. Pour through fine strainer. Distribute chocolate pudding among 6 glasses.


Chill in refrigerator. When cold, top each pudding with Whipped Cream and garnish with nuts and mint sprigs. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

403 calories; 129 mg sodium; 51 mg cholesterol; 25 grams fat; 43 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.70 gram fiber.

Whipped Cream

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

In bowl, whip cream with vanilla and sugar until stiff.


DEAR SOS: I’d love to have the recipe for Chasen’s Hobo Steak.


DEAR BILL: Maude Chasen of Chasen’s in Beverly Hills provided the recipe in 1978. The method of finishing the steak in a chafing dish at the table is typical of Continental service, which one rarely sees today. (Chasen’s is one of the few restaurants in Los Angeles still practicing table-side service.) The use of fat and a salt crust is a classic flavoring trick for sealing meat juices. Both the fat and salt crust are discarded before the steak is finished. It’s a great steak to serve when company comes because it can be cooked ahead and finished just before serving.


1 (3-inch-thick) New York steak

Freshly ground pepper

1 (1/4-inch-thick) strip beef fat, as wide as steak is thick or several smaller pieces of fat

1 cup salt

2 tablespoons water

Sourdough French bread, cut into 3x1 1/2x1/4-inch slices, toasted

1/2 cup unsalted butter

Season steak to taste with pepper. Wrap fat around steak to cover sides completely but not top or bottom of steak. Tie around sides with 1 string near top or bottom or steak. Tie another string over steak to hold fat securely. Combine salt and water to make mush. Mound mush over top of steak, covering meat completely.

Place steak under broiler and broil 8 to 10 minutes, depending on size. Remove salt crust, keeping crust in 1 piece. Turn steak over and place salt on other side. Broil another 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove steak from oven and discard salt and fat. Slice meat, cutting slightly on diagonal. Heat butter in chafing dish or large skillet until foaming and lightly browned. Place meat, few slices at time, in foaming butter. Cook to desired degree of doneness. Allow about 1 minute on each side for rare. Place each slice of meat on 1 slice of toast and spoon some of hot butter over. Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about:

415 calories; 863 mg sodium; 111 mg cholesterol; 23 grams fat; 19 grams carbohydrates; 30 grams protein; 0.07 gram fiber.


DEAR SOS: I am trying to crystallize grapes but can’t find a process. Can you help?


DEAR JODY: Here’s one way.





Select firm red grapes. Rinse thoroughly and break into small clusters of 5 to 6 grapes each. Make simple syrup using 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Cook to rolling boil or 270 degrees on candy thermometer.

Remove from heat. Immediately dip each cluster into syrup and place on buttered tray or platter. Cool 2 hours or more at room temperature.