2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup bittersweet cocoa powder (I prefer Ghirardelli)
4 tsp. cornstarch
3 egg yolks
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. fine salt
Homemade whipping cream
Warm 1 1/2 cups of milk, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. If chocolate clumps at all, strain and then return to saucepan. Remove from heat.
Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks and vanilla in a small mixing bowl. Temper the hot milk mixture into the egg (this simply means to slowly pour a few ladles into the egg yolk mixture at a time as to not cook the egg - whisk while doing so). Return tempered mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2-3 more minutes.
Pour the pudding into 6 small cups (espresso cups work perfectly!). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (ideally overnight).
When ready to serve, top with homemade whipped cream (beat heavy whipping cream with a hint of vanilla and a bit of sugar - whip until soft peaks form).