I’m a sucker for a pannacotta and a posset both, so this buttermilk pudding recipe – a cross between the two – is a winner of an idea from Ed Smith’s Crave. Served with either sharp stewed fruit or white balsamic vinegar-marinated strawberries, and crunchy crumbled amaretti biscuits, this dessert needs to be made several hours ahead of serving, so it’s perfect for a laid back dinner with friends.
Read our full review of Crave by Ed Smith to find out more about the cookbook, including two other recipes we are sharing on Kavey Eats.
Buttermilk Pudding With Sharp Fruits
A cross between a posset, a panna cotta and just a big splodge of dairy, this thickened, wibbling combination of cream and cultured buttermilk boasts a quiet but definite lactic tang. As such it qualifies under the tart and sour category on its own.
The key to the package, however, is the fruit that you serve with it – which should be sweet, but also sharp and lip-puckering. It’s a flexible dessert, so please use whatever is in season, to hand and that takes your fancy. Many fruits are naturally tart – I’m thinking rhubarb, gooseberries, apricots, loquats and plums – and all you need to do is bake, roast, poach or stew them until tender, adding just 10–15 per cent of the fruit’s weight in sugar (and then adjusting to taste). Alternatively, take sweeter summer berries and currants and macerate them in white balsamic vinegar as below.
The crumbled amaretti biscuits round the flavours a little and provide a necessary crunch.
For the buttermilk pudding
- 1 vanilla pod (bean)
- 300 ml (1¼ cups + 1 tbsp) double (heavy) cream
- 100 g (3½oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 3 4.5g leaves gelatine (or one 8 oz leaf))
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 300 ml (1¼ cups + 1 tbsp) cultured buttermilk
For the cooked tart fruit
- 400 g (14oz) cooked tart fruit, as described in the Recipe Introduction
Or, for the white balsamic macerated strawberries
- 400 g (14oz) strawberries, hulled and halved, or other summer berry
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 12 amaretti biscuits
Use the tip of a sharp knife to split the vanilla pod in half, then use the blunt edge of the knife to scrape the seeds out. Combine the seeds, pod, cream and sugar in a medium–large saucepan with tall sides (as the cream is about to expand significantly).
Prepare a small bowl of cold water for the gelatine leaves to ‘bloom’ in.
Place the saucepan over a medium–high heat and boil for exactly 2 minutes. Start the timer when the cream in the middle of the pan is beginning to bubble and threatens to rise up (not when it’s simply bubbling around the edge).
Leave the gelatine to soak in the bowl of water for the same amount of time.
Remove the pan from the heat immediately once the time is up. Add the lemon juice to the hot cream, then squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add those too, whisking until dissolved. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.
Decant the buttermilk into a medium-size mixing bowl or Tupperware. Strain the cooled cream through a sieve (strainer) into the buttermilk, using the back of a spatula to push the cream and vanilla seeds through. Using the same spatula, fold and stir the two liquids together until they are one. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Prepare your choice of sharp seasonal fruits as you wish (see Recipe Introduction), or, if serving with strawberries: put the halved strawberries in a bowl 30–60 minutes before serving, sprinkle with the granulated sugar, mix and add the white balsamic vinegar. Leave to macerate, tasting just before you serve in case more sugar and/or vinegar is required.
Use the biggest spoon you have to scoop a portion of set(ish) buttermilk cream per person, alongside a serving of tart fruits. Crumble the amaretti biscuits and pile near the cream (or leave for others to do so).
Check the main book review for our reader offer of a free Crave e-booklet of extra recipes, available for anyone who purchases the cookbook by the 23rd July.
If you decide to buy this book after reading our content, please consider clicking through our affiliate link, located within the post and in the footnote below.
Kavey Eats received a review copy of Crave by Ed Smith: Recipes Arranged by Flavour, to Suit Your Mood and Appetite from publisher Hardie Grant. Book photography by Sam A Harris.