Today you can easily obtain cultured buttermilk from the supermarket, but buttermilk used in today’s recipes is the traditional kind, formed when the cream from cow’s milk is churned to make butter. Through this process, clumps of solid butterfat develop. Once the butter is taken out, you are left with a thinnish, sour-tasting liquid known as buttermilk.
Both of these recipes repeat the churning stage of the butter-making process with a mixture of buttermilk and fresh (sweet) milk. Once the liquid whey has separated from the milk solids (curd), the pudding-making can begin!
In the first of today’s recipes we are given the option of making either a boiled or baked pudding. The curds are pounded, combined with beaten eggs and melted butter, flavoured with lemon and white wine, and sweetened to taste. Once boiled or baked in buttered cups, they are served with a butter, sugar and white wine sauce:
Recipe for buttermilk puddings from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies
To Make Butter Milk Pud[ding]
2 quarts of sweet milk. Turn it with plenty of butter milk that the curds meant be hard. Drean the whay from it. Pound them in a mortar very well. If the are for beaking, take the yolkes of 8 eggs & whites of 2 – if for boiling, 4 whites – ye juce of halfe a lemon & the rine greated, 3 ounces of melted butter, a cup of strong white wine. Mix them all well to geather, sweeten them to your taste. Butter your cups. Half an hour bakes them. Make sauce of butter, sugar & white wine for them.
There next recipe is very simliar in terms of method, but uses different ingredients to make a richer and more substantial dish. A grated bread roll and ground almonds lend extra body to the curd pudding, and brandy and cream enrich the mix. The pudding (or puddings, as the mixture can be divided between individual “bowles”) is also decoratively studded with almonds before being baked:
A Butter Milk Pudden
Tak 3 quarts of new milk with 3 pints of buttr milk. Squeese the curd through a sive. Then, take ye yolkes of eight eggs well beat & white of one, a role grated, the juce of a lemon with the peel grated, two ozs of almonds pounded, a quarter of a pound of melted butter, two spoonfull of creame, a little brandy. Sweeten to your taste. Beat all too gather and put into a bowle or bowles. Stick them with almonds and have brandy, sack and a little melted butter for sauce. If you pound the curds well in a morter, it will do better than puting ym throu a sieve.