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Maple Pudding for Valentine’s from ABOSAA

Maple Pudding for Valentine’s from ABOSAA

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

“Dinna fash yourself, Sassenach,” he said, more gently. “I didna mean it that way. Here, Mrs. Bug’s brought ye something tasty, I expect.” He lifted the lid off a small covered dish, frowned at the substance in it, then stuck a cautious finger in and licked it.

“Maple pudding,” he announced, looking happy.

“Oh?” I had no appetite at all yet, but maple pudding sounded at least innocuous, and I made no objection as he scooped up a spoonful, guiding it toward my mouth with the concentration of a man flying an airliner.

“I can feed myself, you kn—” He slipped the spoon between my lips , and I resignedly sucked the pudding off it. Amazing revelations of creamy sweetness immediately exploded in my mouth, and I closed my eyes in minor ecstasy, recalling.

“Oh, God,” I said. “I’d forgotten what good food tastes like.”

“I knew ye hadn’t been eating,” he said with satisfaction. “Here, have more.”

I insisted upon taking the spoon myself, and managed half the dish; Jamie ate the other half, at my urging.

Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Chapter 64, I am the Resurrection, Part 2)

Maple Pudding

At first glance, this passage doesn’t seem romantic enough for a Valentine’s post, but it’s from one of my most beloved chapters in the entire Outlander series. Diana touches on so many different types of love: romantic love, familial love, love for children of the heart.

If Ian had been around, I’m sure love for pets, and all creatures, would have also made the list.

And besides, nothing says love like ending a meal with one dish and two spoons…except maybe sharing the spoon too.

Maple Pudding Spoon

Cornstarch is not truly authentic here, as it was used primarily as a laundry starch until the mid 19th Century. Mrs. Bug would have most likely used flour, but I chose cornstarch for a couple of reasons:

  • Pudding made with flour has a different texture and a duller appearance compared to that made with cornstarch. I’ve made a lot of pudding in my time, and I prefer the batches made with cornstarch.
  • The food world is in the middle of a gluten-free craze just now, and I get requests for GF recipes everyday.  I am pleased to post this recipe that everyone can enjoy without having to make any alterations.

If you prefer to avoid cornstarch, or would just like to try the recipe the way Mrs. Bug would have made it, check the notes below the recipe for substitutions.

Eggs and Cream

What is authentic is the amount of cholesterol in this recipe. Mrs. Bug would have used eggs, butter and cream liberally in all of her cooking, and I followed her lead here.

However, as the French know, (which is why most of them stay so fit despite their gastronomic indulgences), a little goes a long way. You really don’t need more than a 1/2 cup serving of this creamy treat to feel satisfied, and leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days.

Maple Pudding Cooling

As for the plastic wrap on top of hot pudding, I don’t use this technique often, but I always use it to prevent a skim forming on my puddings and custards. Most chefs do. If you have concerns about the chemicals in the plastic leaching into the hot food, you can use wax paper, but be warned – it’s a lot messier.

Or, you can learn to love the skim  – a lot of people do – and let the pudding cool without covering it. The skim acts as a great barrier for a topping of whipped cream.

Maple Pudding

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Maple Pudding for Valentine’s from ABOSAA

: Creamy, rich and sweet. The perfect dessert for sharing.

Serves 6 to 8 – about 4 cups


2 cups whole milk
1 cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup cornstarch
2 egg yolks
½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

whipped cream, for garnish


Gently heat the milk and maple syrup over medium-low until simmering. DO NOT BOIL.

Whisk together the cornstarch and egg yolks until smooth and lump free. Slowly whisk in the cream and salt.

Remove about a cup of the heated milk mixture and pour it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour this tempered egg mixture into the pot and increase the heat to medium. Bring it to a boil, whisking regularly. Boil for 2 minutes, still whisking, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove it from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until completely incorporated and smooth.

To prevent a skin from forming, pour the pudding into a bowl, then lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until cool, then spoon into dishes and top with whipped cream when ready to serve.

Alternatively, to keep the skim, spoon the pudding directly into serving dishes and chill, unwrapped, in the refrigerator. Top with whipped cream when ready to serve; the skin forms a helpful barrier between the pudding and the cream.

Store leftovers in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.

Ith do leòr! (Eat Plenty)


  • Cornstarch is known as cornflour in the UK and most Commonwealth countries (not Canada), and is often called maizena (brand name) across much of Europe – it is NOT cornmeal.
  • No cornstarch? Substitute the same amount of tapioca starch or arrowroot. You can also use the same amount of all-purpose (regular) flour — if you choose this option, boil the pudding for 4 minutes to cook off the taste of the flour, ensuring to whisk continuously, and into the corners of the pot, to prevent scorching.
  • Store the 2 egg whites in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to a month. Use them to bulk out some Buttered Eggs, or to make Cafe Latte Meringues.
  • Tempering the eggs raises their temperature gently and ensures you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in your pudding.
  • I garnished our puddings with some of the Smoky Whisky Sugar leftover from Christmas. Chocolate curls, red M&Ms or cinnamon hearts would also dress up your pudding quite nicely.
  • For a wee nip in your pudding, stir in 1 tablespoon whisky with the butter and vanilla.

Maple Syrup



  1. Lynn
    February 9, 2015 at 6:45 am

    My husband is a fan of maple syrup on his pancakes, waffles and french toast and we have a maple muffin recipe that we pull out now and then. I will be adding this recipe to our file and will have to try it on the 14th. Thanks so much for all you do!

  2. Deborah
    February 9, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I’ve been looking for a sweet finish to our Valentine’s meal and I think this is it. I especially love the idea of garnishing with the smoked whiskey sugar – another great recipe. Thanks and enjoy your own Valentine’s Day as well!

  3. Mariana
    February 9, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Dear Theresa,
    Thanks for another wonderful recipe!
    I’d really like to try this recipe (as I’ve had many others!) except for one huge problem… I live in Argentina, and maple syrup, is impossible to get.
    Do you think I could possibly substitute the ms with anything else? Honey, molasses?

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Mariana, I suggest using brown sugar to make Butterscotch Pudding instead. The method is a bit different, so I suggest using this recipe from one of my favourite pastry chefs:

    • Mariana
      February 10, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Thank you!!

  4. yoshimi
    February 9, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Sounds yummy! My women’s group is having a pot luck tonight and I was wondering what to make! Thanks so much, yoshimi

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Great idea! I hope they enjoy it. 🙂

  5. Kathy C
    February 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I often make cooked pudding. I avoid both the plastic wrap and the skin by putting the pot of cooked pudding in a cold water bath and stirring the pudding as it cools. It doesn’t take long to cool, and the pudding is smooooth and skin-free. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      That’s a great method, Kathy! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Lucia D'Angelo
    February 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I love all maple recipes so far, so I’m eager to try this one. My dad used to take us to Curries Ice Cream on the edge of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and my earliest memories are of those little Maple Leaf Sugars on top of my vanilla scoop. Thank you Theresa!

  7. Lori
    February 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I’m definitely making this for our dessert after we have Roger & Bree’s Pizza for Valentine’s Day! YUM! I can’t wait!

  8. Nadine
    February 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    OMG! I am so trying this!

  9. ms.yoshimi
    February 12, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Yummy! I’m making this for my women’s group this Monday, thank you!! ms.yoshimi

  10. Lily Bhavani
    February 13, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Absolutely gonna make this for tomorrow! We have a large jug of maple syrup brought to us by friends from their farm in Maine; with the kids and grandkids rarely around now, it doesn’t get used for pancakes much. And we just started milking our sheep for the year (and it is very creamy) so coupled with our chicken eggs… Slainte~

  11. Kathy Poynter
    February 13, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Would almond, coconut or cashew milk work instead of whole milk? Also, do you know of a non-dairy substitute for the heavy cream?

  12. Rachel
    February 13, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    This might sound crazy, but I am an absolute maple fiend (going sugaring in the Adirondacks in upstate New York in a couple of weeks) and am vegan, and would love to make this. Obviously, it wouldn’t be historically accurate, but are there any vegan subs for the eggs?

    • Theresa
      February 13, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Not at all! You can actually make a delicious pudding by simply omitting the eggs, which thicken slightly, but also add richness and gloss. There are lots of eggless pudding recipes on the web. I might increase the cornstarch by a teaspoon or two, but no other changes to the recipe are necessary.

  13. Adele Needham
    February 13, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I am SO sorry we are still on a post- Christmas diet. But Easter? Mothers Day? Looking forward to trying this yummy sounding receipe!

    • Theresa
      February 13, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Good for you for sticking to it! The recipe will be here when you need it…

  14. Pat Nichols
    February 13, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Curious as to whether there are any substitutes for the dairy?
    Sounds so delicious as it is, I almost hate to ask, but trying to stay away from dairy… Blessings from Victoria, BC

  15. Cynthia Gast
    February 13, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    This sounds really wonderful! I’m wondering about the butter, though. Do you soften it or melt it before you stir it in with the vanilla? Or is the mixture warm enough that it will melt as you stir?

    • Theresa
      February 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      The recipe should read “room temperature butter.” The cooked pudding is definitely hot enough to melt that. Thanks! I’ll edit the recipe.

  16. Shawn Bird
    February 13, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Ooooh Theresa! My maple loving man would love this! Sadly with my broken ankle I can’t drive without him to sneak out and buy the ingredients in time for tomorrow’s Valentine meal, so I’ll have to save it for our anniversary.

    As to substitutions, when I lived in Finland, potato flour was the starch of choice in thickened soups and puddings. Would you use it in this recipe? Would you making any alterations to the method?

    • Theresa
      February 14, 2015 at 5:53 am

      I hope it heals quickly, Shawn! Someone just left a comment on FB about using potato starch and said it worked beautifully…no other subs needed.

    • Shawn Bird
      February 14, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      Excellent. I find potato flour is better for things that are refrigerated than corn starch is. It stays thick but doesn’t become solid.

      I’m hobbling on 2 feet with crutches these days, so that’s progress!

  17. Elaine
    February 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Just got through making this and OMG – this is wonderful. Just tasted the couple of spoonfuls that didn’t fit in the bowls. Wonderful warm, I am sure that it will be even more wonderful cooled with whipped cream. Can’t wait for dinner guests to arrive.

  18. Colleen
    February 14, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Made this for our Valentine’s dessert and it was amazing! Thank you for sharing your talents with all of us.

  19. Joanna
    February 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    As always simply brilliant. Made it with my daughter for suprise dessert tonight (Valentine’s day) and everyone loved it. I didn’t have vanilla, thought I did, but still tasted great. I made whipped cream and sprinkled some cinnamon on top. My son dubbed it pancake pudding. 🙂

  20. Silje
    February 14, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    By vanilla, do you mean white vanillasuggar, or powdered black vanilla?

    • Theresa
      February 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      I mean vanilla extract…a liquid.

  21. Nancy
    February 16, 2015 at 5:53 am

    OH MY GOD!! I made this over the weekend and it was amazing! The kind of desert you want to eat slowly and savour every spoonful!

  22. Julie
    February 19, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Made this for our Outlander fan group today. It was absolutely delicious. I did have a bit of trouble trying to combine all that cornstarch and only two egg yolks (and make something smooth). It was more the consistency of Playdoh. Did I miss something?

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2015 at 6:53 am

      If it’s too thick, add a bit of cream, stir it to a smooth paste, then add the rest of the cream.

  23. Susan McDonald
    February 21, 2015 at 5:59 am

    This was great!! I made it for our Valentine’s dinner, and it will be a favourite in the house. Thanks for the great recipes, inspired by my favourite books. I’m re-reading the books right now, and had just finished reading about the maple pudding when I remembered you had the recipe here. It was bloody marvellous! Thanks again.

  24. Arkay
    April 7, 2015 at 9:26 am

    I cook most of my puddings in the microwave, so there’s no chance they’ll stick to the pan, and so I won’t have to stand there and whisk and whisk and… I’ll experiment with this one, to get the time and power levels right, then get back to you.

    • Theresa
      April 7, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Sounds great! Thank you. I don’t have a microwave, but I know a number of fans will love your tips!

  25. Lucie Biesenthal
    April 10, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Incredible pudding. Lovely natural food. I no longer live in the Northeast but buy maple syrup gathered and made there. Hearkens me to my childhood. Makes me cry (as does all of Outlander). DG makes all the things that make us truly human come pouring out of us. Love her.

  26. Amy
    April 22, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Now, to be contrary, you posted a gluten free recipe, but I need a corn free recipe. My youngest has a corn allergy, but we can all eat all the wheat we want. Go figure. Do you have a good source for maple pudding with flour?

  27. Allene
    October 3, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    My family has had this for major holidays (or when someone is really ill needing to get sustenance) my whole life (I’m 60).
    My family would add 1 cup of orange juice to it, and the rhine in the bottom of the container I like it without, a bit more vanilla added.
    My family ws from Ireland/ N. England…….and was called the Whiteside’s Custard.

    • Theresa
      October 5, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Very interesting! And it was made with maple syrup?

  28. Courteney
    December 22, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I’ve made this three times- for Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and a work potluck and everyone has raved about it! For the potluck, I served it as “maple pudding shooters” in small cups with whipped cream and strawberry on top, sprinkled with Sugar in the Raw. Looked great and made for nice little portions. I want to try it with a sprinkle of sea salt next time. A lovely pudding, especially for maple lovers. Thanks, Theresa!

  29. Carol Mackey
    February 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    A must-do recipe-especially for my youngest son, who loves anything maple (they all do, really). Question: would the old coffee-cum-spice grinder turn pearl tapioca into “flour”? Thought I’d try it, although I do have cornstarch–_and_ potato starch , as one of your readers mentioned. Just seem to be on a tapioca kick these days . . . =D Love that you are reposting some of your great recipes as you put the finishing touches on your (eagerly awaited) cookbook!!

    • Theresa
      February 12, 2016 at 5:55 am

      I don’t know, Carol. Tapioca starch is very fine, like talc. That would work. I’m not sure ground tapioca will work the same. You could always try…

  30. Missy
    February 13, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I just made this for my family’s Valentine’s Dinner. OMG! This is sooo good!

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