Chocolate Desserts: Custard, Pudding and Mousse. What's the Difference?

If you’re a chocolate fanatic, you have probably enjoyed a variety of decadent chocolate desserts. Chocolate cakes, chocolate bars, brownies, you’ve tried them all. But there are three that might make you puzzled: chocolate custard, pudding, and mousse. So what is the difference between these three sweets?

Custards and puddings have similar creamy textures, while mousses are very light. While all three are dairy-based desserts, there are differences in their ingredient components that make them unique from each other.

Let’s start with the custard. Custards are made with a milk or cream base mixed together with eggs for thickening. Once the mixture cools, it becomes solidified. Pudding has a similar structure but does not use egg in its ingredient repertoire. Heated milk and sugar are mixed together with cornstarch until it reaches the desired thickness for the final product. Finally, mousse is created with whipped egg whites then combined with a milk and sugar base, making it very airy. It can even be made with whipped cream instead of eggs. Textures are really the main differentiating points of these three chocolate desserts. Custard is silkier, pudding is creamier, and mousse is lighter. All three are typically served chilled.

The word “mousse” is derived from a French word meaning “foam,” an accurate word to describe the texture of this dessert. Additionally, chocolate mousse is thought to have first originated in the 1700s with the first recipe for this dessert being recorded as early as 1750. Meanwhile, chocolate pudding mixes emerged in the US sometime in the 1930s, but this chocolate dessert is also believed to have earlier origins dating as far back as 1730. Chocolate custard, finally, dates back to sometime in the 19th century. So, these chocolatey delights have been being enjoyed for hundreds of years – mostly by the wealthy class. Fun fact: in the late 19th century United States, puddings and custards were promoted as having health benefits, especially for children!

Of course, there are many different flavour varieties that we can attribute to these types of chocolate desserts, but as it is National Chocolate Custard Day, we are turning the spotlight on this particular dessert. Whichever of these desserts is your usual choice, we can all agree that the multitude of differently textured chocolate treats make the dessert world go ‘round!

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