Serradura ~ Portuguese Sawdust Pudding

Sawdust pudding, or serradura, is a Portuguese dessert that’s perhaps the easiest and best last course ever. It’s made by layering crushed tea cookies with sweetened whipping cream. Three ingredients. And elegant enough for entertaining.

A serving of Portuguese sawdust pudding layered in a martini glass.

This dessert actually shares nothing with its oh, how shall we say it, slightly offputting English name—sawdust pudding– and everything with its purringly Portuguese moniker–serradura. It’s soft, creamy, and will get your tongue trilling with its layers of whipped cream, condensed milk, and crushed Maria cookies.

And if you’re looking for something to keep the kids occupied during this endlessly looping Brady Bunch life you’re currently living, this is it. Kids of all ages can make it. Maybe let them loose in the kitchen while you binge-watch the second season of “Dead to Me.” Now there’s an idea.–David Leite

Video: How to Make Serradura ~ Portuguese Sawdust Pudding

Serradura | Portuguese Sawdust Pudding

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 30 M
  • 1 D
  • Serves 10 to 12
5/5 - 3 reviews
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  • Optional garnishes:


In the bowl of a food processor, blitz the cookies into fine crumbs.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the cream until medium-soft peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue whipping until medium-stiff peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes more.

Spoon the cream into a resealable plastic bag and snip off one of the bottom corners of the bag to make for easy piping.

In individual glass serving dishes, wine glasses, martini glasses, short Mason jars, or a single large serving dish, alternate layering the cream and the cookie crumbs beginning and ending with the cream. You should have about 7 layers.

Garnish with anything you desire, whether ground cinnamon, almonds, toasted coconut, or the very untraditional (though stunning) passion fruit pulp and seeds.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight to allow the cookies to soften. If chilling overnight, tent the puddings with plastic wrap to avoid it drying out.

Serve cold and garnish, if desired, with cinnamon, almonds, coconut, and/or passion fruit just before serving.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This serradura is great!! It's like a grown-up version of the dirt pudding I made when I was a kid-with boxed pudding mix and Oreos.

And it’s super easy to make. It came together in less than 1/2 hour (5 minutes total to make the cream and maybe 10 more to layer it into jars and make it look all pretty).

I made 8 individual servings in 8 ounce canning jars (5 layers of cream and 4 layers of cookie crumbs). I sprinkled toasted coconut on top, but I think anything would be good with this--fruit, nuts, chocolate.

This was really fun to make and everyone loved it!

How can you not love a dessert that has only 3 ingredients and comes together so quickly? I admit when I tasted it right after mixing I thought it was almost too sweet, but once it chilled thoroughly, it mellowed out. It’s a beautiful dessert and you have the opportunity to get creative.

I made several different sizes and added different toppings. My favorite was sour cherries in Kirsch with toasted almonds. That certainly cuts the sweetness as did the dark chocolate crisp pearls with shavings. You can't go wrong with fresh fruit like blueberries with a little lemon zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The favorite among the kids was the dehydrated strawberries with strawberry crisp pearls.

I couldn't find either cookies mentioned so I made shortbread and it worked for me. I would like to try it with the traditional Bolacha Maria someday, though. It took a little practice layering, but I wasn't too concerned if they were a bit rustic. I had a little difficulty getting the pudding even in the smallest dish, but I used a wine cork to tamp it down and that worked very well.

I think it’s important not to overwhip the cream before adding the condensed milk or the final product will be too stiff. The recipe calls for medium-soft peaks before adding the milk and medium peaks after and that is spot on. It does set up nicely with overnight chilling.

Everyone really enjoyed the dessert and sampling different toppings. I will definitely keep experimenting with seasonal and holiday ingredients. I used sour cherries in Kirsch; blueberries with cinnamon and lemon zest; dark chocolate crisp pearls and shavings; and dehydrated strawberries with strawberry crisp pearls.

I am not sure about how many servings since I used different sizes, but I think the smaller single serving size would easily produce 10 to 12.


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  1. I was given this at my husband’s family event, after that I was determined to remake this dish. I came across your dish 😋and I loved it, my husband’s family is Capers Verdian so they make things like this all the time always finding new ways to cook with heavy whipping cream

    1. Thanks, Secorya! We’re so pleased that you tried it and that it was such a success for you. Thank you for taking the time to let us know.

  2. What a gem of a recipe! Thank you! I had Bolacha Maria that my daughter had picked out to make the Bolacha Maria pudding. Since I hadn’t made this in years, naturally I went searching for the recipe… for fun we watched a myriad of videos with mild to moderate deviations from our previously experienced pudding. And then, there was this one …BINGO! This was the one we were making! It took longer to choose which cups to use. In the end, we made 4 cups to be enjoyed on the patio and another 4 bowls for dining room fare. The first were topped with a very light dusting of cocoa and cinnamon. The others were topped with a dusting of black chocolate. Both were chilled for over 15 hours. Honestly, each spoonful was a little bite of paradise… and ever so easy to make! Ironically, we’re doing renovations… I’ll always remember that the first time I made this pudding there was actual sawdust in the house…

    1. Ilda, I love that this will be an enduring food memory for you! We’re delighted that you enjoyed it so much and your photo is stunning. Makes me want to come on over and help myself to one!

  3. Hey! Here in Portugal my mother makes this one with some cut strawberries between the layers. Please try this recipe, it’s so simple and so good.

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