With the rebirth of her family's "Louie's" line of dairy products, owner Anne Lancaster is working hard to become the third king of this Wisconsin creamery. And this time, she's doing it with pudding.
Now home to Louie's Puddings, the creamery is where Anne and her team of four part-time employees make small-batches of baked custard and home-made bread, rice, tapioca and chocolate pudding. Products are marketed regionally in local grocery stores and convenience shops.
All of the recipes, except for the Chocolate Pudding, are Old World family recipes. The chocolate is a new creation, and is my favorite. Sweetened with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, it carries a creamy and rich taste, not a sickly sweet flavor one often finds with commodity chocolate puddings.
In addition, Anne and her part-time team also make Baked Custard, plain, with raisins or with rice (yummy), and add raisins to the original Old World Rice recipe, for a fabulous Rice with Raisin home-made pudding. Making only 1,200 pounds of pudding a day, Louie's Puddings is an anomaly in the pudding world. Not only is it small, it uses custom-made equipment to produce that home-kitchen taste.
Although distribution right now is limited, Anne is working to increase sales. She also dreams about sharing the 3,000 square-foot space with other dairy artisans.
"I'd like for this building to become an artisan dairy incubator, similar to what Bob Wills is doing for the artisan cheese community," Anne says. "I know there's quite a few people who have a good recipe and a unique product, but can't afford a factory of their own. We're looking at adding some equipment and possibly renting out space by the day."
She has no desire to return to the corporate world and appears to have found her calling, in of all places, an old butter plant built into a hillside along a river that is also home to the community's bomb shelter in southwest Wisconsin (more than 2,000 square feet expands underground and is used for storage).
"I'm going to be making pudding for a long time," Anne says. "It suits me. I'm looking forward to the future, working on new plans and new flavors."
So are we, Anne. And if that future could contain a certain someone's favorite pudding, as in perhaps, ahem, Pistachio, we'd love Louie's Puddings even more. Just sayin'.