Connecticut - _______________ Pudding
Let's start this "post" off with a game!
See if you can guess the ingredient (and missing word above) from these pictures:
Did you get it?
Yep - Grape-Nuts cereal is the key ingredient in the sweet I am featuring for Connecticut - Grape-Nut Pudding!
Grape-Nut Pudding is a regional favorite in New England. As you can imagine, a lot of foods that are traditional in New England have ties to Colonial America and are not specific to one particular state within the region. I thought it was important to feature a pudding for New England and since Connecticut is our first N.E. state, I chose Grape-Nut Pudding.
A few puddings seem to have roots in New England - Indian Pudding, Hasty Pudding and Grape-Nut Pudding. I was most curious about Grape-Nut Pudding and wanted to see how this “uber-healthy” cereal could be worked into a dessert.
Suspended or Settled?
A point of dispute and personal preference seems to be whether the grape-nuts should be suspended throughout the pudding or settled onto the bottom of the pudding to form a crust.
I decided that I wanted to have Grape-Nuts in each and every bite of my pudding, so I’m a member of the “suspended” camp and found a technique to ensure the cereal didn’t settle to the bottom. More on that below...
Where do you look for a tried and true New England recipe? Why Yankee Magazine of course! Apparently this was the first published recipe for this homemade favorite.
We can’t do a recipe for The Nutmeg State without some Nutmeg now can we?!
1 quart milk, scalded
1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
4 large eggs
scant 1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (to butter casserole dish)
❉ Heat oven to 350℉
❉ Scald milk (heat until it is steaming, but not boiling)
❉ Place Grape-Nuts in medium bowl and pour scalded milk over cereal. Let sit 5 minutes.
❉ In a second bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and salt
❉ Add egg mixture to Grape-Nut mixture and stir well.
Note: the recipe didn’t say to do this, but I tempered my egg mixture before adding it to the milk & Grape-Nuts. Just add a small amount of your warm milk to the egg mixture to raise the temperature of the eggs before you pour it into the hot milk. This will prevent any of your eggs from scrambling. Which would be gross.
❉ Pour into a buttered 2 quart casserole dish.
❉ Generously grate nutmeg over the top (don’t be shy, this is the Nutmeg State after all!)
❉ Place casserole dish into a deep roasting pan. Place in oven then pour water into roasting pan, enough to reach halfway up the side of the casserole.
❉ Bake 45 - 60 minutes, until almost set in the center (very slight jiggle).
Keep ‘em Separated
If you are like me and want Grape-Nuts in every bite, follow this tip I read from a 93 year old New England native: Once the pudding is in the oven, stir it twice during the first 20 minutes of baking. It works!
This pudding is best served warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Very simple, homey and comforting.