Friday, July 23, 2010

You Are Pudding Me On: Blueberry Barley Pudding

One of the things that I find appealing in dishes is a combination of textures. You know, crispy fried chicken with creamy mashed potatoes; smooth yogurt with crunchy granola; you get the idea. It just hits more of your senses when you eat.

On these incredibly hot evenings (even for Florida standards), I have not wanted to bake anything for dessert (even though I am about to die for a cookie) - I mean, it was still 91 degrees at 9:30 Tuesday night! But my sweet tooth must be satisfied, nonetheless. To substitute, I’ve been turning to cooler options: gelato, sorbet, and pudding.

Even though you have to fire up a burner on the stove to make a pudding, it doesn’t heat things up like turning on the oven. Besides, serving it chilled adds a little relief to this oppressive heat. And anything that beats this heat gets an automatic ‘thumbs up’ in my book right now.

If you’ve read anything earlier, you might know that I have this newfound love affair with barley. It’s just one of those things that I never had occasion to cook with until recently. I’ve been substituting barley for rice here and there, but hadn’t thought about dessert until the other night.

On a whim, I decided to make a barley pudding. I had some blueberries that were about to outstay their welcome, so I thought I’d throw them into the mix as well.

What came out was this incredible textural concoction in lavender. The barley stays so chewy compared to the minor bite left in rice pudding that it surprised me. I was prepared to throw in a handful of toasted nuts to give me that syncopated texture combination that I crave, but didn’t see the need. Even after sitting around for a couple of days, the barley still holds that bite. I just wasn’t expecting that. It’s like a tapioca texture on steroids.

I have a friend who is the exact opposite of me when it comes to food texture – she won’t eat anything on the plate if there’s a combination of creamy and crunchy. I don’t get it. She doesn’t know what she’s missing, so barley pudding probably wouldn’t be for her. But if you dig that mix of sensations on your tongue, then try this one.

Recipe: Blueberry Barley Pudding


  1. lovely idea!! I am once again, cracking up on the blog title!

  2. Killer blog name and a tasty recipe!


  3. You love the play on words as much as I do! My post titles tend to be funny, too.
    And I have been using barley as a substitute for rice in soups and stews - it's much more toothsome.
    Now, using it in a pudding is very intriguing. I love using alternatives to the usuals suspects (quinoa has been a new favorite).
    Thanks for the idea!
    Greetings from California.

  4. This looks absolutely delicious! And I love any sort of textural difference - that's one of the joyful parts of eating. This is a nice summery option to a baked dessert!

  5. This looks fantastic - I can't wait to try it!

  6. Wow! I can totally relate to Florida Summers. This barley pudding is awesome. What a creative use of ingredients. Love it!

  7. Pudding does sound good in this heat. Your Blueberry Barley pudding sounds like a really interesting combination, love it!

  8. I love love love barley pudding! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!

  9. I'm with you on the texture differences. Bring them on! what would a cobbler be without a nice crunch on top, after all. I hope you get the chance to make your cookies soon!

  10. Love this! I'd like to try to reinterpret without the cream. Any suggestions for my health minded readers?

  11. Michelle, I've made it with skim milk. The consistency isn't quite the same, but it still tastes pretty good. If I remember correctly,when I make it with skim milk, I back off the volume a little to try and thicken it up some.

    Good luck!