Sweet Corn Budino with Blueberries and Cornmeal Shortbread

Karen DeMasco

Locanda Verde, NYC

Karen DeMasco used the best of summer’s harvest to make this excellent corn-based dessert, pairing the creamy pudding with a tart blueberry compote and crunchy shortbread cookie. She recommends using corn as soon as you bring it home from the market, when it will still have peak flavor and sweetness.


Corn Budino:
  • 2 medium ears corn, shucked
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
Cornmeal Shortbread:
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and its seeds scraped and reserved, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
Blueberry Compote:
  • 4 cups blueberries, stems removed, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon strained lemon juice


To make the budino, cut the kernels from corn cobs, reserving the cobs. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the kernels, cobs, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla bean pod, and vanilla bean seeds. Bring to a rolling boil and then remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 275ºF.

Whisk together the egg yolks and eggs in a medium bowl. Remove the corn cobs from the chilled cream mixture. Pour half of the cream mixture over the eggs and whisk together until combined. Add the rest of the cream to the egg mixture and whisk thoroughly. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Divide the mixture among eight 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish or roasting pan, spacing them evenly. Tent the dish with foil, leaving the front unsealed so that the custards are visible, and carefully move it into the oven. Pour warm water into the dish, adding enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Seal the unsealed side of the baking dish with the foil. Bake the custards, lifting the front seal of foil every 15 to 20 minutes to release steam, until the edges are set and the centers are slightly loose, about 1 hour. The custards should jiggle slightly when gently shaken.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Remove the foil and let the custards come to room temperature in the water bath. Remove them from the dish and chill, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Once the custards are set, loosely cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 2 days.

To make the shortbread, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla on low speed until just well combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing each addition until just combined. If you used a vanilla bean, remove it from the dough. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.

To make the blueberry compote, combine 2 cups of blueberries with the sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer , stirring frequently until the juices release, about 8 to 10 minutes. Increase the heat to high, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook, whisking frequently, until the compote is thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer the compote to a clean bowl and gently fold in the remaining 2 cups of uncooked berries.

To serve, top a budino with a little blueberry compote and place a cornmeal shortbread cookie on the side.


8 servings