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

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

Serradura ~ Portuguese Sawdust Pudding

4.67 / 9 votes
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.
Jeremiah Duarte Bills
Servings10 to 12 servings
Calories164 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 day
Total Time1 day 30 minutes


  • One (7-oz) package tea cookies (traditionally Bolacha Maria cookies but Leibnez will work nicely)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • One (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Optional garnishes:

  • Ground cinnamon
  • Toasted sliced almonds
  • Toasted coconut
  • Passion fruit pulp and seeds


  • 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.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 164 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 1 gFat: 18 gSaturated Fat: 11 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gCholesterol: 65 mgSodium: 18 mgPotassium: 36 mgSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 700 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 31 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Jeremiah Duarte Bills. Photos © 2020 David Leite. All rights reserved.

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.

Quite simply the most simple delicious pudding to serve at a dinner party, potluck or weeknight dinner with family. You can never go wrong with 3 ingredients, especially when one of those ingredients is whipped cream. Any buttery cookie with a delicate crumb would do in this recipe, I happened to use the Biscoff cookies, a nice Belgian style speculoos cookie.

I crumbled my cookies the old fashioned way, with a rolling pin and plastic Ziploc bag—a good way to let out some aggression and it only took a couple minutes.

The messy part of this dessert is the assembly, mainly putting the cream into the resealable bag without losing too much over the sides of the bag. In my opinion, it’s an almost unnecessary step and you could just spoon the cream onto each cookie layer with the same result.

I used one single large dish, mainly to eliminate having to wash too many dishes afterwards. For a dinner party, I would definitely serve these in individual dishes but for my boys and myself simple is best. I had 7 layers in total in a large glass bowl.

The cookies softened nicely during chill time but still held the texture and taste of cinnamon and spices. I served this family style and it would easily serve 12. I also recommend serving any leftovers over the top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream—match made in heaven.

I garnished the pudding with a sprinkle of cinnamon. I do think shredded coconut or almonds would have added a nice touch. It would also be fun to experiment with different fruit toppings or even to place fruit within each layer (ie berries).

This is so easy that it would make a great dessert to do with kids. They would really have fun. The taste is also surprisingly good.

I used 8 Kerr jars and some sliced almonds on the top but just more crumbs would work. We tried one the next day and the cookie crumbs were definitely not as crisp as the first day. It was fine, though, just different.

Incredibly simple and easy to make, with just 3 ingredients, this elegant dessert is perfect to impress your guests. I like it simple, but you can add some garnishes to your taste, and I prefer to serve it in a large glass serving dish, as it starts to mix the layers when I take a large spoon to serve it.

I didn’t use any optional garnishes. I like it as it is.

About Jeremiah Duarte Bills

Called a “master of his craft,” by pastry chef Johnny Iuzinni Jeremiah Duarte Bills is a baker, a musician and an ambassador for all things Portuguese. Currently, he teaches Portuguese pastry classes, gives the occasional pop up and is the cohost of the baking podcast FLOUR HOUR. He has taught at the San Francisco Cooking School. He’s collaborated and created recipes for many Portuguese American companies including UMA CASA Restaurant in San Francisco, Ginja9 Cherry Liqueur, and Rooster Camisa. @jeremiahbakes

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
    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.