We can’t seem to celebrate any holiday around here without doing something twisted and Mother’s Day is no exception. Years ago our plan to plant flowers was thwarted by a storm. With two disappointed toddlers on my hands, I told them we were going to have fun with dirt and worms anyway and surprised them with Oreo dirt and gummy worms. Every year since, rain or shine we have to have dirt and worms, a dish most people reserve for Halloween.
You can find a recipe for the quick and dirty version, at Kraft.
These days I run away screaming from anything involving Cool Whip, but I remember when my taste buds were young and used to think eating a frozen spoonful of that stuff was a little slice of heaven.
There’s no accounting for youth.
Now I can’t stand the taste of fake. Fake cream, fake chocolate, fake worms…not that I eat real ones, I just prefer to go without.
So I’ve modified this recipe for Double Chocolate Pudding Parfait. I make the pudding the day before, but really the whole works keeps at least four days (it’s never stayed around longer than that). I just keep the additional cookie crumbles off the top until right before serving. Even if you still want to make pudding out of a box, just substituting real whipped cream for Cool Whip makes a big difference.
Dirt and Worms
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups whole milk
4 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped*
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
15 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
Sift together cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa, and a pinch of salt into a heavy medium saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate and butter until melted. Transfer pudding to another dish and chill. Let set for at least an hour.
Mix ½ cup of the cookie crumbles into the pudding.
Whip cream with vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold into the pudding mixture and divide among 10 dishes.
Top with remaining crumbles and worms.
*I'm lazy and usually use chocolate bars that are thin enough to break into pieces by hand.
As I mentioned in my Creepmas Confections, I like using Lindt’s Sweet Dark (Sadly this is no longer available, but Dove Dark is a mild dark with a nice flavor.) and heavy whipping cream that hasn’t been ultra-pasteurized. I also chill my bowl and beater in the freezer before whipping the cream.
I've always had a problem with the pudding getting a little clumpy at the bottom of the pan. Even constantly stirring there's just so much surface area a spoon or whisk doesn't consistently reach. This silicone spoonula has changed all that. It's a spoon so it stirs, but it's also a spatula so it really scraps the sides and bottom of the pan and silicone so it can take the heat. Sorry for sounding like an infomercial but I find I can actually keep all the pudding in constant motion with this bad boy.
Update: First, to give an individual serving of dirt a more grown up taste, pulverize a pinch of instant coffee with the back of a spoon and sprinkle it on.
Second, the dirt and worms combo on Mother’s Day brought back some cherished childhood memories, namely The Hearse Song, that I learned from my lovely mother. I remember it being more of a poem than a song but I couldn’t quite remember the words and neither could she and none of the versions I found online are quite right.
After chatting about it, my memory jogged a bit and this is how I remember it:
Did you ever think when a hearse goes by,
That you would be the next to die?
They’d wrap you in a dirty sheet
And bury you six feet deep
Things would go well for just one week
Then the boards would begin to creak
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out
The ants play pinochle on your snout
You turn all green and slimy and puss runs out
And me without a spoon.
Between this and Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts, I thought my mom knew the coolest stuff.