When I was old enough to babysit, I didn’t do it for the money; I did it for the food. I’d get the little stinkers to bed by reading bedtime stories so fast you could hear a sonic boom, and then I’d eat that poor family out of the house and home. I only babysat at homes with a guaranteed score, and I find it curious that I was ever asked to babysit more than once because I never left without demolishing ever last edible morsel from inside the freezer. The Stewart family was especially hard hit, since they always carried the full line of Jell-O Pudding Pops and I had no problem polishing off every last box. I’d apologize for my foolish youthful behavior, but I cannot honestly say that I’m sorry. Or that I wouldn’t do it again now that I’m full grown.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the agave nectar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, and salt until the mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the coffee and cornstarch. While whisking constantly (especially if the coffee is still warm), add the egg yolks one at a time and then add the vanilla extract. Return the pan containing the cocoa mixture to the stove. Pour the egg mixture into the cocoa mixture, whisking constantly over medium heat. Clip on a candy thermometer and whisk whisk whisk. In all likelihood, the temperature has already exceeded 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius), so you’re safe, bacteria-wise. Now keep whisking for about 5 minutes, until the pudding thickens and the temperature reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius) to 210 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and serve family style, or use it in other crafty ways like a filling for a glorious crepe cake. Alternatively, pour the pudding into 7 popsicle molds and freeze overnight for a luscious, chocolaty summertime treat. You can also pour the pudding into 14 individual 2-ounce (60 milliliter) serving cups and cover each with plastic wrap, making sure that the wrap touches the entire surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate for a few hours. You can serve the pudding straight from the fridge or with a dollop of whipped cream. However, I like to sprinkle a spoonful or two of sugar over the top and take a kitchen torch to the sugar to caramelize it into a brûlée crust.