Almond Budino Babies

  • Servings: 6 espresso cups
  • Difficulty: Pretty easy but a little fancy
  • Print

This dessert is my new obsession y’all. I originally fell in love with it when I first had it at a restaurant in Charleston called Indaco. It was part of the group that I worked for while I was down there and they always took such good care of me and one night sent out a dessert called the Almond Budino. It has been a love affair since.

Well I don’t live in Charleston anymore and I’m not sure the timeline to getting our Indaco here in Charlotte so I took matters into my own hands.

This is a 3 (4 if you make the homemade whipped cream) part job and you’ll need to start a day in advance but I’m telling you with every fiber of my being that it is worth it. I’d sell my first born for an endless supply of Almond Budino. Thankfully I can make it so I don’t have to….


  • The shortbread dough is tough and will try your patience a little. Stand your ground.
  • The Budino takes on some cornstarch in the form of a slurry (liquid+thickening agent such as flour or cornstarch) it’s going to act wonky for a minute when it starts to thicken. Stand your ground.
  • Judas created the process of making caramel sauce, but I promise you, if I can do it, you can. Stand. Your. Ground.
  • You can do this whole recipe in a day. I just chose not to. Well, most of it. I’d still let the budino set up overnight.


Shortbread Dough – Recipe from Master Pastry Chef Alison Bond of Le Calabash

  • 220 grams butter
  • 80 grams icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 280 grams flour
  • 30 grams cocoa powder
  • 70 grams whole pistachios blanched
    • you can leave these out but come on, why would you??

Almond Budino – Recipe from Indaco

  • 720 grams whole milk
  • 90 grams egg yolks
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 22.5 grams cornstarch
  • 45 grams butter
  • ¼ tbsp almond extract
    • I put in about ½ tbsp because I like a strong almond taste.
  • ½ tbsp salt

Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • ½tbsp fleur de sel

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Maybe some sugar
    • Maybe I’m weird and don’t like my whipped cream sweet


Shortbread Dough

  • KitchenAid and paddle attachment
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Parchment lined sheet pan
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters


  • Medium sized pot
  • Bowls
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Bowl for storage
  • Plastic wrap
  • Piping bags
  • Serving vessels, I like espresso cups


  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Sautee pan
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Glass jars for storage (2, 8oz)
  • Patience and Grit
    • Can you tell I’ve burned a lot of caramel?

Whipped Cream

  • Medium bowl
  • Whisk or electric mixer


Shortbread Cookies – Day 1

  • Cream the butter, the sugar, and the salt together.
  • Add the egg in gradually.
  • Fold in the flour and cocoa powder then add the pistachios if you got fancy.
  • Mix all of the ingredients well and place in the fridge.
  • Once the dough is firmed up, shape into a tube form and slice (like the easy break and bake tubes) 5mm thick.
    • I let mine sit overnight in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend this because the dough was too hard and it tested my patience that much more #notabaker
  • Preheat your oven to 374 degrees F, no that isn’t a typo, there was some conversion done from Celsius. Be mindful of your oven for this y’all.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Budino – Day 1

  • Combine 1 cup of your 720 grams of milk and your cornstarch together in a bowl. Whisk until combine.
    • Note: You’ll need to whisk it again before incorporating it later. Cornstarch settles at the bottom if left alone.
  • In a separate bowl, combine sugar and eggs and whisk like hell until they reach a frothy pale color.
  • Simmer remaining milk over low heat. Once it begins to simmer, ladle about ½ cup of the hot milk into your egg mixture, stirring constantly so not to cook the eggs. Repeat this step 2 more times.
    • This is called tempering your eggs. It is bringing them up to the warm temperature so they can easily be incorporated into the hot milk mixture without scrambling.
  • Slowly pour your egg mixture into the simmering milk, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add your cornstarch/milk mixture to the pot next, continuously stirring until it reaches a pudding like consistency. It will coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and add your almond extract, salt, and butter and stir until the butter is completely melted.
  • Strain mixture into a bowl and refrigerate uncovered until the steam subsides, then cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

Caramel Sauce – Day 2

  • Mise en place your ingredients. This is especially important for making caramel because it happens so fast and once it goes it GOES. Level of focus: Ninja.
  • Over medium-low heat, pour your sugar into your pan and swirl occasionally. It will take a little more time to melt but it is worth it to not burn your sugar instantly.
  • As it begins to melt and develop a color start pushing it around with a rubber spatula. Once it is all melted down and you’re getting that pretty amber color, remove your pan from the heat and stir in your butter. It’ll sizzle so don’t panic.
  • Stand your ground. It doesn’t incorporate easily. Keep stirring.
  • When about half of your butter has been incorporated or when you just can’t stand the monotony anymore, add in your cream and fleur de sel. Again, stand your ground. It may sizzle a little more. Keep stirring. You got this.
  • Keep stirring. When it is all incorporated, run through a fine mesh strainer in case you have any leftover chunks of sugar.
  • You can refrigerate this up to a week, week and a half but that may be pushing it depending on when your cream was set to expire.
  • To heat and loosen back up, just put your jar in hot water.

Whipped Cream – Day 2

  • If you don’t know how to do this by yourself, I really can’t help you.

Putting It All Together

  • Pipe your Budino into chilled espresso cups or whatever kind of vessel your heart desires. I like the smaller portions personally, but hey, do you.
  • Crumble some shortbread on top, maybe stick some shards in the pudding to get a modern art vibe.
  • Gently spoon on your warm caramel sauce.
  • Top with a little kiss of whipped cream.


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