Budyń – Polish Custard

Budyń is similar to the thick English custard that is used on trifes, rather than the pouring type.

The word comes from the French  –  boudin, as does the English word pudding.
It is made from milk, egg yolks, sugar  and potato flour & flavoured most often with vanilla.

I have found numerous recipes – this one is my favourite.

I think this is best eaten after it has been very well chilled.


500ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

1 tablespoonful of butter

3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

3 drops of vanilla  essence

2- 3 tablespoonfuls of potato starch (you can use cornflour – if potato flour is not available)

3 egg yolks


Put 300ml of the milk, the butter, sugar and the vanilla essence into a saucepan.

Heat gently till the butter had melted and the sugar dissolve, stirring all the time.

Bring this to the boil for a few seconds and then take of the heat.

Blend together the rest of the milk (200ml) with the egg yolks and potato flour.

Add some of the boiled mixture to this and stir well.

Add this to the rest of  the boiled mixture and stir well.


Put the pan back on the heat and bring back to boiling point, stirring gently.

Keep at boiling for 1 minute, stirring all the time.

Pour into a glass dish (or several small dishes) – leave to cool.

You can cover the budyń with greasproof paper to stop a skin forming.







Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve with grated chocolate, fruit or fruit syrup.


Served  here in Art Deco sundae/trifle glass dishes from the 1930s.

Packet Budyń

Budyń can be made from packet ingredients with fresh milk.

The ingredients are cornflour & potato flour with flavouring.


This is similar to  British Birds custard which is made from cornflour and flavouring and added to fresh milk.

The budyń comes out thicker – not a pouring sauce,

Using Budyń

Budyń is used in cakes and pastries as a filling and to make  vanilla pastry cream used in several recipes including Karpatka (recipes to follow in future posts) Carpathian Mountain Cake.


When I visit my friend in The Netherlands we often have vla for dessert – this is very similar to budyń.

Vla used to be sold in bottles but more often now comes in cartons.  Originally it was also made from milk, sugar and eggs  but now the thickening is more usually cornflour.

With yoghurt

In the Netherlands,  vla is often mixed with yoghurt.

I mix roughly equal parts of budyń with chilled Greek yoghurt and whisk it together to get a well combined mixture.

This can be served with grated chocolate, fruit or fruit syrup.




1930s Art Deco glass dish




Kajmak (or kaimak in my older books) is a speciality make from cream or milk cooked with sugar and then butter is added. It is very sweet and dense,  pliable at first and hardening over time.

It is similar to a creamy type of fudge and it can also be made from tinned condensed milk which has been boiled and so is very like dolce de leche.

In my American-Polish cookery book it is called Turkish Fudge.







It is used in a variety of cakes including mazurek.


Mazurek with kajmak – this recipe will be in a later post


Kajmak originated in Turkey and appeared in Poland in the 18th century in the reign of Stanisław II Augustus (1764–95).   Sugar was a luxury commodity then and this was originally just popular with the Polish nobility.



1/2 litre of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

400g of granulated sugar.

50g of butter

2 drops of vanilla essence


Put the milk and sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat gently stirring most of the time to stop the mixture from catching and burning on the base.

Continue cooking and stirring until the volume has reduced to about half of the original and the mixture is thick – rather like jam in the spoon test.

Take the pan from the heat and add the butter and stir till it is incorporated.

Add the drops of vanilla essence and stir them in.

Use the kajmak straight away or pour into a glass bowl that you can heat over a water bath when you want to use it later.





Alternatively you can also pour it into a flat dish and cut it up as cubes or fingers of sweets later.

Kajmak is flavoured with a little bit of vanilla but can also have the following additions: caramel, chocolate or coffee


In a frying pan heat 20g of granulated sugar until it just starts to turn light brown, then add 6 tablespoons of water and boil gently until you have a caramel syrup.


Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter.

Salted caramel is very popular in England at the moment and you can add a teaspoon of cooking or table salt to the caramel kajmak.

Then once it is poured out you can sprinkle coarse ground or sea salt on the top.



Here the kajmak was poured into a rectangular dish.


50g of cocoa mixed with around 6 tablespoons of water


80g of melted dark chocolate

Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter and reduce the liquid until the kajmak is the correct consistency.




100 to 125 mls of strong coffee made from 20g of ground coffee.



Brew the coffee in a cup or jug, leave for around 10 minutes and then strain the liquid from the grounds.

Add this to the kajmak before the addition of the butter and reduce the liquid until the kajmak is the correct consistency.

Quick Kajmak

In a recipe book I bought recently there is a recipe for kajmak using  krówki which are classic Polish sweets (krówka mleczna = milky cow) described as creamy fudge.

The recipe used 500g of the sweets which would have been two packets – I just used one packet to test them out.


250g of krówki

120ml of milk

1 tablespoon of butter.


Unwrap the krówki and place them with the milk in a small saucepan.

Heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sweets dissolve.

Add the butter and let it melt.


Use whilst it is warm.


This worked very well & one packet could be enough – I must admit I prefer the original version but this is easier & quicker.


The Perfect Pancake

Naleśniki are thin pancakes like the French crêpes. Their name comes from the Polish verb to pour.

In Poland pancakes are eaten all year round, with either savoury or sweet fillings, and not just before Lent. (In fact pancakes are not amongst the special foods eaten before this time of fasting).

We used to have then about once a week but I never seemed to have been involved much  in their making except for spreading the fillings on, so when I started to make them myself I had lots of disasters!

My pancakes were always a bit hit and miss.  Often the constancy was not constant nor the  thickness and nearly always the first one of the batch would stick to the pan and have to be thrown away.

Then I looked up the recipe in my old Polish cookbook, made a few telephone calls to various relatives and also followed Delia Smith’s advice and bought a special frying pan which I use only for pancakes.

Kuchnia Polska 15th Edition 1971 - Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery
Kuchnia Polska – 15th Edition 1971

So I now I think I know the secrets of making perfect pancakes and these I will now pass on.

  • Sift the flour
  • You must use a mixture of milk and water – 50/50 is the best – this ensures that the pancakes do not burn as easily and also enables you to make then very thin and elastic so they are easy to work with. (This is the most important tip).
  • Beat the eggs and add then them first to the sifted flour.
  • Add the milk mixture to the egg and flour mix until you have a batter the consistency of pouring cream.
  • Leave the batter to stand for at least 1 hour in which time it will thicken, then add a little more liquid.
  • Use a special thin pan which you use just for pancakes, mine has a base diameter of 20 cm and is made of steel, once seasoned, just wipe it clean between uses with kitchen roll – never scour it or use detergent.
  • Work out how much batter you need for a pancake and find a measure which will then give you a consistent amount – I use a small ladle which holds 45ml.
  • Have a dish of melted butter or margarine and sunflower oil for frying so you can add just enough and tip some back if needed.


200g plain flour

2 eggs

200 ml milk (full or semi-skimmed)

200 ml water

pinch of salt

This amount makes around 8 pancakes.

I remember this recipe as it is all the 2’s for ease, but it will depend on the flour and the size of the eggs, you might not use all the milk & water mixture or you might just need a little more.




Heat the pan – you want a high heat but not too much to burn the pancakes – you will find you have to keep adjusting the heat. (As I cook using gas this is easy to do).


Pancake Batter & Ladle


Using the ladle pour the mixture into the pan.

Tilt the pan so that the mixture covers the surface completely and evenly.

Cook the pancakes on one side and turn then over (or toss them English style), you can make them up one by one or stack then up with a piece of greaseproof paper in between them. You can do this and leave then for later use



There are many recipes for pancake fillings both savoury and sweet.

I think the 2 most popular sweet fillings in Poland are sweet curd cheese (see a previous post) and stewed apples with cinnamon.

Pancakes with sweet fillings are normally folded into triangles – fan -shaped  by folding the pancake into half and half again.

Pancakes with savoury fillings are normally rolled up and often then put in a dish, topped with a sauce or grated yellow cheese and put in the oven for a time.

In these instructions I have used photographs of pancakes being made with the sweet curd cheese filling.

Frying the Pancake
Sweet Curd Cheese Filling
Spread with Filling
Folded in Half
And Half Again
Dusted with Icing Sugar



I find two are enough for me!

You can make the filled pancakes in advance prior to dusting them with icing sugar and then heat them up on both sides – using the pancake pan again – maybe with the addition of a little butter.  Then dust them with icing sugar.

Reheating a Filled Pancake