Our bountiful harvest of grains this year has us exploring new ways to enjoy them. On a circuitous journey through the rabbit hole of online recipes, a sweet use of wheat berries kept appearing - wheat berry pudding. Since we've got an abundance of wheat berries, I thought why not give it a try, though admittedly a twinge of skepticism did arise... pudding from wheat? WOW! Plain old spelt berries were transformed into an absolutely amazing dish that can feature as a dessert, breakfast or snack. Spelt was chosen as it was readily available but other varieties are suitable too.
Wheat Berry Pudding Recipe
- 1 cup softened wheat berries (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons plus 3 cups milk, kept separate (I used Vanilla Almondmilk)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- (original base recipe calls for 1 teaspoon vanilla extract but since Vanilla Almondmilk was used, the extract was omitted.)
- Using a food processor or blender, coarsely chop the softened wheat berries in 2 tablespoons milk. It is okay if some berries remain whole.
- Transfer the chopped wheat berries into a heavy-bottomed pan (a Dutch oven works well!) and add the remaining 3 cups milk, cinnamon stick, orange zest and salt. Bring the mix to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the mixture is very thick with almost no liquid remaining - roughly 30 minutes.
- Remove (and re-purpose) the cinnamon stick and stir in the maple syrup (and vanilla extract if using.)
- Serve warm or cold; garnish to taste. (Pudding in photo is cold, garnished with chopped hazelnuts and diced dried apricots.)
Notes: Softened wheat berries are used in this recipe. The "Rice" setting on an Instant Pot was used to soften the wheat. Alternatively, one can soak the berries overnight or bring them to a boil in water (4 cups water to 1 cup wheat berries), reducing the heat and covering to simmer for approximately an hour. Softened grains are slightly chewy but tender. Also, depending on the source of the grain, sorting and rinsing of the wheat berries ahead of time is recommended.
This recipe begs for personalizing and modification - I am definitely going to try different spices and garnishes and the level of sweetness is adjustable. I think the next version will be served warm with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with baking spice... mmmm can't wait!