My family and I took a drive out to Little Compton along the Sakonnet River while I was in Rhode Island for Christmas. Our destination was The Commons, a New Englandy lunch spot I’ve gone to all my life. I’d love to tell you I grew up on their lobster rolls, clam cakes, and chowder, but I was a picky kid who stuck to grilled cheese and the restaurant’s OUTSTANDING onion rings.
I’d also be lying if I said that I grew up eating Grapenut pudding, a traditional New England dessert. I actually tried it for the first time at The Commons. It’s a rich custard flavored mixed with Grapenuts and flavored with vanilla. The cereal gets soggy when it absorbs the milk, creating a simple dessert with a variety of layers and textures. It’s best served cold and topped with whipped cream.
I couldn’t wait to try making Grapenut pudding back in Austin. I got the recipe from trusty Yankee magazine. We always had copies of it laying around the house while I was growing up.
- 1 quart milk, scalded
- 1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
- 4 large eggs
- scant 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (approx.)
- Whole nutmeg
Heat oven to 350°. In a medium-size bowl, pour scalded milk over Grape-Nuts and let sit 5 minutes. In a second medium-size bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add egg mixture to milk and Grape-Nuts and stir well. Pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Generously grate nutmeg over the top. Place the casserole into a deep roasting pan. Place in the oven and pour water into the roasting pan, enough to reach halfway up the side of the casserole. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, until almost set in the center (very slight jiggle).