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Bakeless Sweets

Bakeless Sweets

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Treats you can make without turning on the oven—also includes many gluten-free desserts!
With plenty of puddings—chocolate, pistachio, butterscotch, maple bourbon, rice pudding with lemon—plus Nutella fluff, Thai sticky rice with mango, wholesome “jello” made with fruit juice, no-bake cookies, icebox cakes with whipped cream and graham crackers, you’ll find tons of special, delicious desserts here—and lots of them are gluten-free, too! Bakeless Sweets is the first cookbook to give you all of these beloved no-bake desserts in one big collection.
“The fact that most of the recipes in Bakeless Sweets are naturally gluten-free makes it a boon for anyone who still wants decadent desserts without baking. Also, there’s root beer and cream soda terrine. Need I say more?” —Shauna James Ahern, author of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781613124628
Publisher: ABRAMS, Inc. (Ignition)
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 230
Sales rank: 832,662
File size: 25 MB
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About the Author

Faith Durand is the executive editor of The Kitchn, a website for home cooks that is an offshoot of Apartment Therapy with six million unique readers each month. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Read an Excerpt



CLASSIC PUDDINGS Simple Vanilla Pudding Homemade Instant Pudding Mix Rich Vanilla Pudding Simple Chocolate Pudding Rich Chocolate Custard Classic Crème Anglaise Butterscotch Pudding

NEW FAVORITES Double Coconut Cream Pudding with Coconut Brittle Toasted Coconut Brittle Pumpkin Spice Pudding with Honey Caramel Sauce Honey Caramel Sauce Malted Milk Pudding with Hot Fudge Sauce Old-Fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce No-Bake Crème Brûlée

FRUITY PUDDINGS Banana Pudding Supreme with Caramelized Bananas Caramelized Bananas Toasted Coconut Pineapple Pudding with Toasted Coconut Lemon and Sour Cream Custard Caramel Pudding with Buttered Apples Scarlet Rose and Berry Pudding with Whipped Cream

NUT & CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS Roasted Pistachio Pudding Dark Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter and Honey Pudding with Dark Chocolate Ganache Nutella Pudding with Hazelnut Brittle Hazelnut Brittle

EXTRA-RICH BUDINOS Maple-Bourbon Budino with Spiced Pecans Spiced Maple Pecans Cheesecake Budino with Brandied Cherry Sauce Brandied Cherry Sauce Chocolate-Butterscotch Budino Chai–White Chocolate Budino

Plain vanilla pudding is the first sort of dessert many of us encounter as children. I have a hunch, though, that most kids think pudding like this comes out of a plastic cup or from a box of magic powder whisked into milk. But given how easy vanilla pudding is to make from scratch, there is room here for surprise and delight — you can make this stuff at home with no little box to help you, and it tastes so much better.

This chapter contains creamy old-fashioned puddings, thickened with cornstarch and eggs and made on top of the stove. Most of the classic puddings here can be made in just fifteen minutes, plus chilling time (if you like to eat your pudding firm and cold from the fridge).

We start with basic vanilla pudding, and build on that with more complex flavors: pumpkin spice with honey caramel, Nutella with hazelnut brittle, roasted pistachio, toasted coconut.

The flavors that work best in these cooked puddings are ones that stand up to longer cooking: darker, richer flavors like chocolate, butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, pistachio, pumpkin, spices. If you are looking for a creamy pudding with a brighter flavor like strawberry, mango, or another fruit, try a mousse or panna cotta instead; those methods are better for fresh fruit.

These puddings are not complicated. Let me tell you right here what you need in your fridge and pantry for homemade vanilla pudding: milk, cream, cornstarch, vanilla, and a bit of sugar. That's it. So put away that box and pick up a whisk!


Puddings go by many names, and these can be interchangeable and confusing. Take custard. Some cooks consider custard a pudding with eggs that also happens to be baked. But in England custard is specifically a thin sauce of cream and eggs that is cooked on the stovetop and meant to be ladled over fruit or cake. And while we're in England, let's not forget that there the word pudding itself just means dessert! (Which leads to some confusion with my English friends when I say I am writing a book about pudding; I have to quickly explain that it's in the American sense, not in the more all-encompassing British meaning.)

Or take budino, which means "pudding" in Italian, but is sometimes taken to mean a baked pudding cake, and at other times an extra-rich pudding. I love the playful sound of the word, bouncing yet thick like a clotted pudding, so I have adopted it here to designate a collection of extra-rich puddings meant to be savored in very small quantities. I use a shot glass or a small ramekin to serve them. I like serving pudding in these tiny quantities at parties and after a luxurious dinner; they offer just a taste of something sweet, without overwhelming.


Dairy's role in thick and creamy puddings is very simple: Fat equals thickness. The fattier your dairy, the thicker and more luxurious your pudding will be. This is why I formulated these recipes for whole milk and why I do not recommend substituting skim or low-fat milk. Whole milk gives just the right amount of richness to these puddings.

Too much fat, however, can be as bad as too little. Puddings made with too much cream can be unpleasantly grainy, as the fat beads up and coats your tongue. So I try in each recipe to give the right balance of milk to cream for optimal eating pleasure.

» The takeaway: Just trust me! Use whole milk and cream in these recipes — it's worth it.


I found that the lower fat of soy, rice, and almond milk — not to mention their various reactions to heat — meant that alternative milks did not do well in the types of puddings in this chapter. Of course, you are free to experiment with alternative milks — but given that most of these recipes also depend on cream, I would again recommend that dairy-free cooks look to the grain pudding and panna cotta chapters, which contain a few dairy-free recipes and variations.

» The takeaway: Dairy-free folks, don't despair! There are plenty of dairy-free recipes in later chapters! Grain pudding, panna cotta, and mousse are categories much better suited to dairy substitutes.



Cornstarch is a fine powdered starch made from corn that is used to thicken sauces and, in this case, puddings. It is tasteless, inexpensive, and easy to work with. It is not as powerful a thickener as arrowroot, but it is better for thickening dairy.

When working with cornstarch in puddings, there are two chief concerns: how to keep the mixture lump-free, since cornstarch likes to lump up when combined with liquid, and how long to boil the mixture, since cornstarch needs to be boiled in order to thicken. If you do not boil cornstarch long enough, it will not thicken at all or it will thicken then quickly separate after refrigeration.

» To keep the pudding lump-free, whisk the cornstarch smooth in a small amount of liquid before adding it to the pudding. This is called making a slurry.

» To thicken the cornstarch, I call for two solid minutes of boiling in most of the puddings. This should be timed from the moment the pudding comes to a full rolling boil, with numerous bubbles popping up to the surface. By this point, the pudding will have already begun to thicken. Allowing for two minutes of full rolling boil from this point on is enough to fully cook the cornstarch but not overcook it, which is also a danger if the pudding boils much too long (think five minutes, not two).

» If you do get a lump or two of cornstarch in your finished pudding, you can fix it by straining the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve while it is still hot.


Like cornstarch, eggs and egg yolks act as thickeners in a pudding. But while cornstarch simply thickens liquid and can have a grainy mouthfeel if too much is used, eggs add richness. Egg yolks make a pudding feel and taste more luxurious. The proteins in whole eggs also stabilize a pudding, helping it to maintain that thickness.

There are two problems in using eggs in puddings, however: curdling and an undesirably eggy taste.

» Curdling happens when eggs are heated too fast or overcooked. The protein in the egg separates out and forms unpleasantly firm strings and nubs of egg. To avoid this, it is best to temper the eggs before adding them to a pan of hot milk. To do this, stir a cupful of hot milk into the bowl of whipped eggs and cold cream. The hot liquid warms the eggs, but doesn't shock them.

» To avoid the eggy taste, I prefer to use more egg yolks than egg whites in puddings. While both parts of the egg have thickening power, the proteins in egg whites give off more eggy taste, and it is also easier for these to curdle, since they cook at a lower temperature.

» If the eggs in your pudding do curdle, no worries! You can fix it — just strain the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve while it's hot. If the pudding has already chilled, you can run an immersion blender through it quickly to help the eggs re-emulsify.



I know, I know — it's hard to be patient after you've cooked up a delicious pudding, but most of them need to be chilled for at least a short amount of time so they are cool enough to eat, and some puddings won't be very thick at all until they have spent some time in the refrigerator.

I have tried to find the right texture, whether a pudding is eaten warm or cold. If you use a lot of fat, the pudding may be thick enough to eat almost immediately or after just a half hour in the refrigerator. But then it may turn out to be unpleasantly thick after it chills overnight.

Having said that, some puddings are best really cold (the Lemon and Sour Cream Custard on this page, for instance), and others can be eaten warm (the Maple-Bourbon Budino on this page is best warm, even hot). Where applicable, I have noted the optimal serving temperature in the recipe.

Fortunately, when it comes to cooling, you do have some control over how long it will take. If you pour the pudding into a wide and shallow dish, it will cool much faster. In fact, when I'm really in a hurry, I spread a batch of pudding onto a jelly-roll pan so most of the pudding is exposed surface. There's just one thing to consider ...


How do you feel about pudding skin? It's that tender rubbery layer that materializes on top of a pudding in the refrigerator. This "skin" forms as the pudding dries out on top while it cools.

Some people detest it; others love it. Personally, I feel it's best to avoid it as your pudding chills for the first time, especially if you've spread it in a very wide and shallow dish. If you're not careful, half your pudding could be skin! (Of course, if this is your thing, go for it.)

To prevent a skin from forming, cover the surface of the warm pudding completely by placing plastic wrap or buttered wax paper directly on the surface.


Once a pudding has set up in the fridge for a few hours, it will be thick and gelled. If you spoon it out of the container, it won't have that beautiful creaminess it did right out of the pot.

To make the pudding soft and creamy again, spoon it into a bowl and beat, either in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with an electric hand mixer, just until the pudding is light and creamy. (Don't beat for more than a minute or so; it can cause the cornstarch's thickening power to break down.) You can also use a big balloon whisk. (I don't recommend using an immersion blender or regular blender, although a food processor could do in a pinch.)


Personally, I feel that the puddings in this chapter are best eaten within three days. (If you can make them last that long!)


Help! Something went wrong! Get your answers here.

» My pudding is too thin! Is it still warm? Most puddings need some time in the fridge to get really thick and creamy. Also, you may not have cooked the cornstarch long enough — it needs a full two minutes of boiling. On the other hand, if you lost track of time and wandered away, letting your pudding boil merrily for five or ten minutes, you may have overcooked the cornstarch, which has the same effect as undercooking. Also, I have calibrated most of these recipes to be best after some time in the fridge. If you like to eat your pudding warm, add one extra tablespoon of cornstarch to the recommended amount. This may add a touch more graininess, but it will help the pudding firm up faster.

» My pudding thickened, but then got watery and separated in the fridge. It's normal for cornstarch to leak a tiny bit of water, especially after several days of refrigeration. But if your pudding breaks down right away, that means you didn't cook the cornstarch long enough. Make sure you boil for a full two minutes.

» Darn it! There are lumps in my pudding. You need a better slurry. Make sure it's completely smooth and that you whisk vigorously when adding it to the warm dairy. If you notice lumps while the pudding is still hot, you can strain it through a fine-mesh sieve.

» My pudding is too thick! Did you use the recommended dairy? If you substituted cream for the milk or used a higher-fat cream, you may get an unpleasantly thick pudding. See the section about whipping cold pudding — you can make it silky and creamy again by whipping lightly with a mixer.


» When you bring homemade pudding to the table, expect people to squeal. Homemade pudding is so pleasurable and unexpected, so comforting and delicious. A bowl of unadorned real vanilla pudding is always a treat, but there are ways to make pudding even more spectacular, especially for a special occasion.


Plain pudding is well and good, especially when dressed up with the sauces and toppings in this chapter. But what if you want to really go all out and create a special treat?

If you visit a patisserie or sweets shop in France, you will find verrines, a fancy name for pudding cups, or what we might call parfaits. These are very popular and can be elaborately layered with cake cubes, fresh fruit, nuts, meringue, or many different flavors of pudding or custard. They are served in little glasses, a perfect small bite of sweet after a meal. Here are some ideas for making your very own chic verrines and pudding parfaits using various components from this book or from the grocery store (these are just a few ideas — I'm sure you can come up with plenty more!). Any would be adorable in a small Mason jar or pint glass, and some would be quite elegant in a tall Champagne flute.

To assemble the verrine, it's best to have your pudding mostly chilled. Then layer it in a cup or jar, smoothing as you go (or messy looks good too!) and adding mix-ins and sauces.

» Chai Latte Break = Chai–White Chocolate Budino + Simple Vanilla Pudding + Whipped Cream + Sprinkle of Cardamom

» Salted Peppermint Patty = Peppermint-Cocoa Pudding + Rich Vanilla Pudding + Crushed Pretzels + Crushed Peppermint Candy Bits

» Chocolate Lemon Bar = Lemon and Sour Cream Custard + Rich Chocolate Custard + Graham Cracker Crumbs

» Mocha with a Kick = Rich Mocha Pudding + Rich Vanilla Pudding + Splash of Bourbon + Whipped Cream

» Kid at Heart = Rich Vanilla Pudding + Rich Chocolate Custard + Chocolate Cookie Crumbs + Hot Fudge Sauce + Gummy Worms

» Caramel Apple = Butterscotch Pudding + Rich Vanilla Pudding + Buttered Apples + Caramel Sauce

» Twisted Black Forest = No-Bake Crème Brûlée + Rich Chocolate Pudding + Brandied Cherry Sauce + Hot Fudge Sauce + Chopped Toasted Almonds

» Elvis Lives = Banana Cream Pudding + Peanut Butter and Honey Pudding + Cooked Bacon Bits + Graham Cracker Crumbs

» Upside-Down Cake = Pineapple Pudding + Caramel Pudding + Caramel Sauce + Coconut Brittle

» Nut-Lover's Delight = Nutella Pudding + Roasted Pistachio Pudding + Whipped Cream + Spiced Pecans

» Classic American = Cheesecake Budino + Rich Chocolate Custard + Hot Fudge Sauce + Whipped Cream + Fresh Strawberries

» PB&J = Peanut Butter and Honey Pudding + Dollop of Jam + Crushed Pretzels

» Black Bottom Cake = Cheesecake Budino + Rich Chocolate Custard + Whipped Mascarpone + Chocolate Chips

» Breakfast for Dessert = Rich Vanilla Pudding + Simple Maple Pudding + Waffle Chunks (make a few extra and freeze, or buy your favorite frozen variety) + Maple Syrup Drizzle + Toasted Oats + Sprinkle of Cinnamon


Excerpted from "Bakeless Sweets"
by .
Copyright © 2013 Faith Durand.
Excerpted by permission of Abrams Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

acknowledgments and thanks,
Index of Searchable Terms,

Customer Reviews