Buttermilk pudding

By • February 21, 2011 • 30 Comments

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Author Notes: Buttermilk pudding is so wonderful, it's almost unbelievable. It has that fresh tang that floats lightly over the creamy custardy texture. But, most buttermilk pudding recipes call for gelatin, and ever since I had a traumatic experience trying to use gelatin in middle school (call me melodramatic, but a ruined chocolate mousse is traumatic in my world), I have been loathe to use it in anything. So, I set out to create a perfect buttermilk pudding recipe without gelatin.
At first I thought it would be best to try to make pots de creme, since I know you can make baked buttermilk pie. However, I didn't want to use the massive quantities of sugar called for in a pie, and maybe I just didn't use enough egg yolks, but the texture didn't come out how I wanted it (I saved it by turning it into a perfectly acceptable ice cream!). So, then I started working on a stovetop creation instead. It took a bit of fiddling, but finally I've created a pudding that has exactly the wonderful light flavor and unctuous texture I was looking for.
In the summer this pudding would be amazing with macerated berries or peaches or a fig sauce. In the winter it's great with passion fruit - if you can get your hands on some - or caramelized citrus fruits, or brown butter pears, or even just a drizzle of honey. Of course, it's also fabulous just on its own. It's up to you!
fiveandspice

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you have vanilla bean you could also use that, simmering it with the cream instead of adding it at the end)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks to lighten them, then set them to the side near your stove.
  2. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Bit by bit whisk in the cream, making sure there are no lumps. Then whisk in the buttermilk.
  3. Heat the buttermilk mixture to a simmer over medium or medium-low, stirring the whole while. As it heats it will suddenly reach a point where it seems noticeably thicker, at this point take it off the heat.
  4. Stir about 1/4 cup of the hot buttermilk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking really vigorously to prevent the yolk from cooking into scrambled egg. Whisk in another quarter cup of the buttermilk mixture, then another, each time whisking until smooth. Then, scrape the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining buttermilk mixture.
  5. Return to medium low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heat proof spatula, until the pudding is thick and the spatula leaves thick trails behind it as you stir. Pour the pudding into a bowl - if it seems lumpy you can press it through a strainer, but mine was quite smooth - and place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding (unless you really like pudding skin, in which case, don't!). Chill for at least a few hours and up to several days. Serve chilled accompanied by a fruit sauce or cookies of your choice, or by itself.
Jump to Comments (30)

Tags: creamy, kid-friendly, quick, tangy

Comments (30) Questions (0)

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6 months ago Dianne

Thanks for your input. The recipe said it should leave thick trails. I was not sure just how thick it should be. Should it actually stay parted when you run the spatula through it?

Sausage2

6 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi Dianne! It's always frustrating when pudding gets grainy. I think HLA might be right, the pudding has to come up to a very gentle boil to activate the cornstarch. Then I usually cook it until it is thick enough that the trail left by a spoon will still close back in on itself, but it should take a moment. It's so hard to describe! I cook it until it is almost the whole way to the thickness you'd ultimately like the pudding to be, but not quite.

Sausage2

6 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Ooh, I just read someone describe it as being as thick as loose yogurt. That's a pretty good description.

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6 months ago Dianne

What would cause the pudding to turn out grainey?

Gator_cake

6 months ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Most likely the cornstarch didn't cook enough.

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6 months ago Dianne

What would cause the pudding to turn out grainedy?

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almost 4 years ago pauljoseph

great recipe

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks so much pauljoseph!

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almost 4 years ago lapadia

Yum, love using buttermilk, my corn-coconut uses a bit of it, too!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks! Isn't the tang it adds just the greatest?!

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almost 4 years ago lizb

I have exactly one cup of buttermilk in my fridge that I was trying to find something to do with. This is going to be perfect. I'd never thought of buttermilk as a sweet before.

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh that's great! Let me know how you like it!

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almost 4 years ago dymnyno

brilliant!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you dymnyno!

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almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

What a great combo!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks Sagegreen! I'm pretty hooked on it at the moment!

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almost 4 years ago Homemadecornbread

Midge, re: buttermilk over cornbread or "redneck cereal" - a fine and delicious southern tradition indeed. 'Round these parts we call it "cush-cush".

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almost 4 years ago Midge

I like the sound of cush-cush better. Now this is all I can think about. Must make some cornbread today! Oh and fiveandspice, I love the photo!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wow, I love the word cush-cush! That's just exactly what I imagine it feels like scooping your spoon into a buttermilk soaked piece of cornbread. And thanks about the photo Midge! (p.s. regarding using up extra buttermilk - I wound up baking soda bread and discovered another fabulous combo, which is soda bread slathered with creme fraiche. Dairy overload, hehe!)

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Mmmm...I bet this is delicious. Last summer I experimented with a tangerine buttermilk sherbet and I loved the tangy profile.

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I actually made some caramelized tangerines to go with the batch I have right now! It's a wonderful combo.

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Gorgeous photo!!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you!

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almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Me too! I sometimes sneak a sip - when nobody's looking. ;)

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almost 4 years ago Midge

I'm intrigued too. I love buttermilk in any guise, even straight up.

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wow! Straight up buttermilk is pretty hard core. Though, not really that different from kefir. I guess I know what to do with my little bit of leftover buttermilk. :)

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almost 4 years ago Midge

My favorite buttermilk vehicle is warm cornbread (over which you pour it). I learned this when I lived in the south, where I've heard it called "redneck cereal." Delicious!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That sounds AWESOME! I'm trying that the next time I make cornbread.

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yum, I never would have thought of buttermilk pudding. Now I'm intrigued.

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I hope you give it a try! Buttermilk pudding is so yummy!