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What Is Budino?

Cake flour and eggs, two of the ingredients in budino.
Ricotta cheese is a common ingredient in budino.
Orange peel, one of the ingredients in budino.
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  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
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Budino is a sweet Italian pudding known for its light yet filling texture and intense flavor. This type of dessert gets its name simply from the Italian word for "pudding," and different bakers can have their own unique takes on budino recipes. Some variations have a denser texture than others depending on the ingredients, such as eggs and cake flour, making this dish a versatile one. Different textures are often created with the inclusion of rice, semolina, or ricotta cheese. Popular flavors for this dessert include chocolate, lemon, and butterscotch.

Traditional Italian cooking often calls for budino to be made with more custard-like than cake-like texture, although the exact recipe ingredients may vary according to regions and family traditions. A classic version originating from Northern Italy is known as budino di riso, which gets its texture and flavor from a mixture of boiled rice, rum, raisins, candied orange peel, and vanilla. Successfully bringing together these flavors requires raw rice that will release starch when heated in simmering milk; the key to achieving the right custard texture is to cook the rice only in milk until it is tender but not entirely softened. The rest of the ingredients are then usually added before the rice is allowed to finish completely cooking.

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Some Italian bakers who prefer this dessert without the boiled rice substitute semolina, which is a type of wheat grain also used for some types of pasta and cereals. Budino di semolino is a recipe that requires this ingredient along with the raisins and rum but often not with the vanilla extract or candied orange. This version has a somewhat different consistency, and it usually needs to be baked further in small dessert molds once the ingredients have been heated and mixed together in a pot on a stove-top.

Flavor from lemon zest in this dish is usually found in budino di ricotta, a somewhat smoother recipe version. This pudding is often made by first straining any lumps out of unsweetened ricotta cheese and then whipping it together with egg yolks and sugar. Ground sweet and bitter almonds are also added to bring out more of the lemon taste.

Butterscotch budino is a rich and smooth pudding made from heavy cream usually combined with cornstarch or cake flour, dark brown sugar, and dark rum. Separated egg yolks and whole milk help give this variation its thicker texture as well. Chocolate flavor can be created as an alternative by adding grated unsweetened baking chocolate and vanilla extract in place of the rum and brown sugar.

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fBoyle
Post 6

@cloudel-- That's how I make chocolate budino too and I think I prefer this type of budino over the others.

Budino might sound really fancy but it's just homemade pudding. And for me, pudding doesn't need to be fancy or require many ingredients or steps to make.

Budino is comfort food for me. It's a dessert that I like to make on whim and that's why it should be as simple as possible. I like being able to find all the ingredients in my kitchen without a trip to the grocery. And I love how rich and fulfilling chocolate budino turns out despite its simplicity.

bluedolphin
Post 5

@shell4life-- I agree with you.

My roommate made a really delicious butterscotch budino the other day. It was amazing, the best dessert I've ever had but there were so many steps involved in making it!

I think making the pudding and the butterscotch sauce took an hour total. But in that one hour, I saw my roommate go through about ten different pots and pans! She was constantly mixing, putting things aside and mixing again!

And then we had to wait for three hours to let the pudding cool completely in the fridge. The wait was well worth it and I ended up having two servings. But I could never make budino! It's just too complicated for me.

SteamLouis
Post 4

While reading about budino, I was reminded of both rice pudding and creme caramel.

My mom makes a simple rice pudding often that's not too different than the rice budino. She also puts vanilla and orange peel in it, just not rum or raisins. My mom is half Greek and she says that this is how her grandmother used to make rice pudding. The most important ingredient is rice (or rice flour). I grew up eating this pudding so it's my favorite type of pudding.

Caramel budino also reminds me of creme caramel which is a dessert of Spanish origin I think. Isn't it interesting how all of these have originated in the Mediterranean region? I think Italian budino might have been influenced by these other pudding varieties in this region. I'm sure it goes the other way around too.

StarJo
Post 3

My mother's butterscotch budino recipe has won several recipe contests in our surrounding area. She just has a knack for cooking and baking, and she likes to take recipes and tweak them to perfection.

I think the heavy cream in this budino is what gives it such a rich texture. This influences the flavor heavily.

I've never tried making it, because she makes it so frequently that I really don't need to. I've seen her standing at the stove stirring for what seemed like about ten minutes while making the budino, and I know that this is something I would not have the patience for, anyway!

cloudel
Post 2

@shell4life – Maybe you should try a chocolate budino recipe instead. I have one that only calls for six ingredients, and it is really easy to make.

Basically, you melt bittersweet chocolate and mix it with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. You include three whole eggs and three separate egg yolks, but that is about the hardest thing about the entire process. It tastes really awesome, and anyone could pull it off.

If you like, you could always melt some caramels and drizzle them over the top of the budino. I've always loved chocolate and caramel together, and since you are fond of the caramel sauce, it might remind you of your favorite budino.

shell4life
Post 1

I've never tried chocolate budino, but I have tried caramel budino, and it was delicious! It had a nice caramel sauce as a topping that had a hint of saltiness to it, and this balanced everything out perfectly.

At the bottom of the dish was a dark chocolate cookie crust. Then, the super creamy budino took up the majority of the space, and the perfect caramel topping finished everything off.

I saw my friend's recipe for this, and it had a lot of ingredients and looked really involved. It's something that I would love to eat again, but I don't think I could pull such a complicate recipe off by myself at home.

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