Saturday, 12 July 2014

Dutch Buttermilk Pudding

I have few regrets in life. I do not believe in looking back with disapproval, at things I did or did not do! But among the few things I do regret, is the time when I turned down an offer to join a few good friends on a trip to Amsterdam. It was right in the middle of the Fall Semester, back in university in England, and a few of my buddies there, a couple of South American Undergrad students, were planning a trip to Amsterdam during the Christmas vacation. They asked me if I cared to join. I was ecstatic - I did my happy dance, checked for flight schedules, planned the budget and the itinerary, downloaded the VISA form, decided on clothes to take and then...then I had this conversation with my father. He said it was a great plan, I must make the most of my trip, I must let him know if I needed money etc and finally he added casually, "Or you could come home for the vacation. We miss you, you know!" A couple of weeks later I boarded my flight to Calcutta. My friends went to Amsterdam alright. 

My dreams of chomping on bitterballen (bread-crumbed Dutch croquettes with a gooey minced beef filling) and poffertjes (small, fluffy buckwheat pancakes) was razed to the grounds as I returned to the familiar comfort of Machher-Jhol and Bhaat. 

And just as much as Amsterdam, the city, fascinates me, it was Dutch food that lured me. I have had the chance to feast on authentic stroopwaffles once and I consider myself blessed for that. The hearty soups and sumptuous stews, the meats and mashed potatoes, Dutch cuisine is all about clean and fresh flavours and I love it. In fact, a far as food habits are concerned, I think I share a common love with the Dutch -- their legendary love of potatoes, best captured perhaps in a particular painting by none other than Vincent Van Gogh, The Potato Eaters.

The other thing we have in common is our love for Buttermilk. Karnemelk (buttermilk) is a favourite among the Dutch. And this buttermilk pudding is a celebration of that love. It is extremely simple to make but a treat especially during the summer months here. 

I often make buttermilk at home by adding vinegar to milk and letting it rest for several minutes. But today I tried the Mother Dairy Buttermilk. They launched it a few months ago and this was the first time that it was available at out local Mother Dairy depot. And though it was initially difficult to resist the temptation of making South Indian style spiced buttermilk, this buttermilk pudding turned out to be one dessert I could have again and again. A tangy, sweet treat and you can top it up with fresh fruits, caramelised nuts or strawberry sauce. It is delicious. It does take some time to set (at least 4 hours) but it is worth the wait. 

Our World Cup Series is almost drawing to an end. You must have guessed by now, Netherlands is my pick from Group B. They have had a great World Cup Campaign and are facing Brazil tonight, fighting for the third place. Tomorrow is the grand finale and I promise to bring you one great recipe to bring this series to a close. 


Buttermilk - 300 ml
Heavy cream - 350 ml
Castor Sugar - 150 g
Gelatin - 3 tsp (heaped)
Warm water - 1/4 cup
Cherries, almonds or strawberry sauce for topping


Stir in the gelatin in the warm water and keep aside to cool.

In a pan bring the cream and sugar to a boil on medium heat.Let it simmer for a few minutes while stirring continuously.

Stir in the gelatin and remove from heat. Add the buttermilk and blend well.

Now pour the mixture through a sieve and then pour into molds.

Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or until set. Top with fresh fruits or strawberry sauce or caramelised almonds!

Recipe adapted from