Transparent pudding is actually a pie with a cloudy filling, like Pecan Pie filling, without the pecans.
The filling is made from milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and flour, mixed and cooked in a pot until thickened, then poured into a puff-paste pie shell, and baked.
Transparent Pudding can be served room temperature or warm.
There are several versions of Transparent Pudding.
- some have you beat the eggs;
- some have you add the egg yolks first, then later add the egg white, beaten;
- some have you put a puff paste ring around the edge of a pie dish or basin;
- some have you line the entire dish with puff paste, as you would for a pie.
Magee’s Bakery in Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky is well known for their Transparent Puddings, and may be one of only a handful of bakeries in America making them commercially (as of 2009.)
Transparent Pudding originated in America in the 1800s.
It would have been a handy recipe in a housekeeper’s arsenal, as it doesn’t require any special extra ingredients such as fruit or nuts.
Literature & Lore
“TRANSPARENT PUDDING. Beat eight eggs very light, add half a pound of pounded sugar, the same of fresh butter melted, and half a nutmeg grated; sit it on a stove, and keep stirring till it is as thick as buttered eggs — put a puff paste in a shallow dish, pour in the ingredients, and bake it half an hour in a moderate oven; sift sugar over it, and serve it up hot.” Randolph, Mary. The Virginia Housewife. 1860.
“For transparent pudding: Cream a pound of butter and sugar together; add eight well-beaten eggs; flavour the mixture with nutmeg. Line a pudding dish with thin puff paste pour in the pudding and set in a very hot oven for 10 minutes. Serve without sauce.” — Gettysburg Compiler. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 24 November 1896. Page 4.
“We called it a ‘pudding.’ In reality, it was a pie, being invariably baked in an open crust of fine pastry. It was often baked in small pastry shells. Then it was ‘transparent puddings.’ It — or they — were ever delicious and were reckoned by unhappy dyspeptics are indigestible. Popular they were, and they will always be:
Cream half a pound of butter light, beat into the creamy mixture the yolks of six eggs, the juice of a lemon (strained), the grated rind of a lemon, a grated nutmeg, and half a glass of good French brandy. Beat for three minutes — hard! and whip in the whites of six eggs.
Sometimes we reserved the whites of three eggs in the general mixing, and when the pies (or puddings) were ‘set’ in the baking, spread the meringue of the whipped whites, beaten up with three tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar and a little lemon juice, over the hot pies while in the oven. Then they were shut up again in the oven to brown the meringues slightly.
The pastry shells in which the transparent mixture was baked were the best the old-fashioned housemaker could make. The puddings were eaten cold, by which time the puff-paste was almost transparent. — Hanlang, Marian. Transparent Pudding. Anaconda, Montana: Anaconda Standard. 26 April 1909. Page 12.