Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

Polenta Budino - like a cornmeal pudding with a dreamy plum compote. From Mario Batali. Kind of like "Indian Pudding" only better!

I could hardly believe my eyes as I turned the pages of this month’s Bon Appetit…and saw this recipe in the R.S.V.P. section. A dessert from the famed Babbo in NYC. Now, I don’t know about you, but I may never have a chance to eat at Babbo, but this? This dessert is easy to pull off.

Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

The title was just a bit of gibberish to me since I know about 10 Italian words, but with a glance at recipe, I “got it.” The Polenta Budino, a kind of Italian “pudding” was familiar – it reminded me of an old-timey recipe for “Indian Pudding.”

And Marmellata? I just figured it was a plummy jam-like substance…and boy was it ever. It was sooo amazing. Amazing in that “little bit goes a long way” kind of amazing!

Polenta isn’t easy to come by in my neck of the woods so I “fabulously frugalized” and a less expensive cornmeal took its place. And since I’ve never had the original, I wasn’t missing anything with the cornmeal substitute. In this case, ignorance IS bliss. 🙂

Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

Speaking of bliss – this little recipe blew me away! Utterly fantastic. I can’t believe I’ve lived all my life without it. It was a play of contrasts. The smooth, lukewarm pudding topped with the cold, almost candy-like, Marmellata.

Mixed reviews were voiced by the fam: Dad loved it. Pat only “liked” it, but that didn’t stop her from digging into one before dinner and finishing another one after! Regardless, I’ll be making this again. And again. This dessert would just “make” a dinner party, and it can all be made ahead.

In the meantime, I’m trying not to think of that one little lonely Budino in the fridge. Yep, there’s only one left because I divided into 4 instead of 8 like the recipe said. In my defense, I didn’t serve this with ice-cream or gelato and a cookie like they do at Babbo…maybe next time. 🙂

Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

  • Servings: 4 - 8
  • Difficulty: med
  • Print


  • All ingredients may be made ahead, but the plum marmellata should be made enough ahead so it can chill & the polenta needs to come to room temperature.
  • We made four servings of this instead of eight because we didn’t serve with ice-cream & a cookie. Sub in any stone fruit for the plums.
  • I like the texture of the Marmellata best with all but one plum peeled and I did a speedier, but just as delish method of cooking of it.

Plum Marmellata:

  • 4 plums – peel three and leave skin on one, cut all into 1/2″ chunks but keep two peeled plums together in a pile and the one unpeeled and the remaining peeled plum in a separate pile
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Bring sugar, lemon juice, salt, two of the peeled & cut plums to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and some of the fruit is starting to fall apart, 10–15 minutes.

Mix remaining plums into marmellata and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but still holding their shape, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover marmellata and chill.

Marmellata can be made 3 days ahead. Chill.


  • 1/2 cup coarse grind polenta (I used stone-ground cornmeal)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisking constantly, gradually add polenta or cornmeal; whisk until smooth.

Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking and breaking up any lumps, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt (mixture will loosen) and cook, whisking often, until mixture thickens again and polenta is tender, 20–25 minutes. If using cornmeal, this will take a little less time.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Whisk egg yolk and cream in a small bowl to combine, then vigorously whisk into polenta. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface. Let cool.

Polenta can be made 2 days ahead. Chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Marmellata And Assembly:

Stir polenta to loosen and smooth out any lumps. Spoon into bowls and top each serving with some marmellata and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Accompany with a cookie.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted from Babbo, NYC, via Bon Appetit

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 429
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11 g 16 %
Saturated Fat 6 g 28 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 74 mg 25 %
Sodium 226 mg 9 %
Potassium 124 mg 4 %
Total Carbohydrate 86 g 29 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g 14 %
Sugars 73 g
Protein 2 g 5 %
Vitamin A 78 %
Vitamin C 15 %
Calcium 17 %
Iron 4 %


Today, of course, I’ll be linking to our very own Throwback Thursday Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!

Click over to our latest Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or, as always, to see all the links or add your own, click on the little blue frog, below.

And, as I do almost every Friday, I’ll be linking up to Angie’s Fiesta Friday Number 130! Many of my fave bloggers hang out there every weekend and this week’s co-hosts are  Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Petra @ Food Eat Love. This week I’m visiting Saucy Saturdays and linking up! It’s always a fun line up of bloggers and linkers.


Polenta Budino - like a cornmeal pudding with a dreamy plum compote. From Mario Batali. Kind of like "Indian Pudding" only better!

20 thoughts on “Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

  1. petra08

    Polenta is one of my favourite things and I have never seen it as a dessert, this is a HAVE to try dish! Thank you for sharing with us at Fiesta Friday! 🙂

    • Hi Hilda, on the photo I saw of this it was in a bowl, the polenta on one side the marmellata on the other and all covered by the ice cream on top. It had a charm of its own. But – the glasses made it feel so special!

  2. I’m so glad you got me past that title Mollie! Italian pudding I can wrap my brain around! I attend an Italian conversation luncheon monthly (where I mostly listen!) to learn to speak the language. When it’s my time to host, I think I will make this dessert. I’ll have to find pretty glasses like yours and learn to pronounce the title!

    • Thanks, Aruna. It really was one of the most amazing desserts I’ve made in a long time…and I’m constantly trying new things and not posting because sometimes I just don’t think they’re good enough. I’m thinking of whipping up some of this right now, as a matter of fact!!

      My glasses were a thrift store find – I was so excited to find them! Now I’m trying to think of things to make and put in them, lol!! 🙂

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