Last week I shared a family and community favorite recipe. This week I give the chocolate recipe for the same food: BREI. “Brei” is pronounced with a silent “e” and a long “i”. This word rhymes with “dry” and “cry”. Say it: BRY.
This recipe is the same as the vanilla one last week, only this time we add chocolate (cocoa) to the mix. After I posted the recipe last week, a cousin commented that they also made chocolate Brei, but she did not know the amount to add. I compared a recipe for cocoa pie1 from my grandma Barbara Swartzentruber Miller and did the math. Then I made the recipe. It came out just right, I think. You might want to add a little more chocolate, depending on how rich your like your chocolate.
I talked to cousins from four different families, and they all remembered the same things about this dish.
- this dish was a staple in their growing up years
- there was no recipe – you just made it
- most folks just called it Brei or Cornstarch. Not cornstarch pudding, mind you, just “Cornstarch”.
- oftentimes it was the meal of the evening for the family
- when it was the main evening meal, hard boiled eggs and sometimes radishes were served on the side
- there was always plenty of milk and this was an easy meal
- everyone made vanilla Brei, but sometimes you had chocolate; some families more than others
Last time I shared about the memories my oldest brother had about Brei from when he was a young lad. If you want to know more about Brei and the information I shared last time, you can go to this link.
When my family was writing our family book of memories, the mention of Brei came up numerous times. No one had a recipe, but everyone had memories. So we asked our sister Katharine to make Brei and write down the ingredients and amounts. Now we have a written recipe2 for our family.
The chocolate brei recipe
Chocolate BREI (a German pudding)
- 4 cups milk
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa or more if you like it richer
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Heat 3 1/2 cups milk to almost boiling. [To do this, heat on medium until you see circles form on top of the milk; keep stirring it while you are heating it.]
- While the milk is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa.
- Mix well with 1/2 cup milk
- Add the cornstarch mixture to the hot milk, stirring as you pour it in
- Stir constantly as it thickens and just comes to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla
- Serve hot or cold
- Optional: add a dollop of cook whip or whipped cream on top
1 Homecoming – The life and stories of Jonas B. and Barbara Swartzentruber Miller and their children by the JBM Family, Lulu Online Printing, June 2012, p. 32.
2 Family Jaunt of Memories by the Floyd J. Miller family, Lulu Online Printing, June, 2009. p. 445.