Saturday, March 7, 2015
I was recently browsing for new recipes to use my sourdough starter. It's a fun pastime, I highly recommend it. I searched for "sourdough pudding," thinking that sourdough starter might make for an interesting custard, if used in place of cornstarch or flour as a thickening agent.
I found recipe after recipe for sourdough bread pudding, and a few random recipes that had nothing to do with either sourdough or pudding. But no recipes for a custard pudding made with sourdough. I tried different wordings, different search engines, but nowhere could I find a recipe that made a simple custard pudding using sourdough starter.
I couldn't let it go. I had to try it, to see if it would work. I was nervous and excited. I was about to attempt to do something that, according to the internet, had NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. Because obviously, if it had ever been done before, it would be somewhere on the internet. Amiright?
Well, now it has been done, and now it is on the interwebs. I have successfully made a custard-style pudding, using sourdough starter in place of flour, cornstarch, and part of the milk. And it totally worked.
The flavor is what I would expect, having tried a number of dessert recipes that use sourdough starter. It's sweet and pudding-like, and it has that bit of tang and richness that sourdough usually gives. I will say that the distinct flavor that sourdough gives is very distinct in this recipe. There aren't any other flavors to compete with it, so it's quite strong. So if you don't like the flavor of sourdough starter, this probably isn't the pudding for you. But if you like sourdough in just about anything, you'll like it in this.
In the interest of being fully honest, at one point I thought I would have to scrap the whole thing, pour it out into cheesecloth, and claim that my intention all along had been to create a sweet sourdough cheese (details in the recipe below). Even now, I'm throwing around the idea of making cheese with sourdough, because I found out today that it would totally work. But I held out and it turned into pudding after all.
Sourdough Vanilla Pudding
2/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 cup sourdough starter
2 2/3 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. butter or margarine
Combine sugar and salt in large saucepan. Mix together sourdough starter and milk, and add gradually to the sugar, stirring to combine.
Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly. At some point, the milk will curdle. Sourdough starter is acidic, which I halfway forgot when I was planning out this recipe. The mixture will look like you're making cheese, with chunky curds and watery whey. Just keep stirring. Don't use a whisk at this point, though, or you'll end up with a very large, gloppy, stretchy blob of curds stuck to the whisk. Just use a spoon.
Continue heating and stirring until the curds dissolve back into the whey. At this point you can use a whisk so the mixture gets smooth. Once it comes to a boil, boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Slowly stir half of the mixture into the beaten eggs. Blend egg mixture into hot mixture in saucepan. Return to a boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Blend in vanilla and butter.
Pour pudding into serving dish(es). Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly (about 2 hours) before serving.
I'm pretty sure this could be used in place of vanilla pudding in any recipe. I want to try it in a pie crust. You could add bananas and make sourdough banana cream pie. Add coconut and make sourdough coconut cream pie. Stir in a cup of chocolate chips with the vanilla and butter and make sourdough chocolate pudding or sourdough chocolate cream pie. Layer this stuff with bananas and nilla wafers to make sourdough banana pudding. The possibilities are endless!
Think Tank Thursday