Merry Christmas from the New England shorelines! I’m not a native New England-er ( or Yankee ) as the southerner’s call us but even after living here for nearly 12 years I’m still learning new things about the area, local farming and the food culture. No other time of year is as festive or as rich in food traditions ( and tastings ) as the holiday season in New England! I’ve been digging into my favorite New England Magazine,YANKEE in search of some local flavor to bring to our holiday table ( and to a Christmas Eve gathering ) and I hit the mother lode!
New England is known the world over for it’s traditional fare such as roasted turkey, rib-roast, brown bread, bread pudding, gingerbread cakes, cookies, pumpkin pie and pudding. Many of these dishes originated in England and have become staples on New England tables and in restaurants all over the area. Being a westerner, I had never heard of brown bread or bread pudding until I met my husband. Of course I had never heard a water fountain called a ‘ bubbler’ or blue jeans called dungarees either but that’s another story. And, I had never tasted tapioca pudding, rice pudding, or maple grape-nut pudding. One of the first of these that my husband introduced me to was brown bread. Its a moist bread made with molasses and buttermilk, ( with or without raisins) which gives it a firm texture. Traditionally it’s steamed before it’s sliced and served with butter. My hubby always served it on the side with franks and beans. A Friday night tradition during his childhood. Over the years I’ve made variations of bread pudding with cranberries and pineapple, and I’ve learned to make his favorite pies ( coconut, strawberry/rhubarb, pumpkin, pecan, and apple) but I’ve never attempted a true New England pudding until today!
He’s a pie, pudding and nut guy. I’m a chocolate, cake and cookie gal.
Since my mom moved in he’s been reminiscing about some of the puddings his grandmother made when she lived with them. One of his favorites was Maple Grape-Nuts Pudding. He even eats Grape- Nuts ice cream! Any who, I decided to treat him to an old favorite and I’m sharing it with you too!
I’m not sure if the recipe his grandmother used is still in the family so I did a Google search for Yankee Magazine recipes and found it! Ya ready?
Maple Grape-Nuts Pudding ( yankeemagazine.com )
- Unsalted butter ( for baking dish )
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups whole milk, scalded
- 1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
- 4 large eggs
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- Whole nutmeg ( or ground if unavailable)
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Preheat your oven to 350 and set a rack to the middle position. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish. Fill a kettle with about 4 cups of water and bring it to a simmer. While the water is heating up heat the milk to scalding ( not boiling ).
Pour Grape-Nuts into a medium sized bowl and pour the milk over them. Let it sit 5 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients.
Just the milk and Grape-Nuts above.
In a second medium-sized bowl ( above) whisk together the eggs, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Add the egg mixture to the milk and Grape-Nuts, and stir to mix the two.
This is where the hot water comes in to play. Pour the pudding mixture into a buttered casserole dish and grate a generous amount of nutmeg over the top. I didn’t have whole nutmeg on hand so I just sprinkled some from my spice jar.
Place the pudding in a large roasting pan and set it in the oven. Fill the pan with water until the level reaches half-way up the sides of the dish. I did it the opposite way just to live on the edge a little and luckily I didn’t spill it! Bake until the center of the pudding barely jiggles when shaken, 50- 60 minutes. Let it sit 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven then serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: It’s not easy to make a blob of pudding look amazing in a photograph but you get the idea! The baked-in Grape-Nuts give it a soft cake-like bottom topped with smooth maple flavored custard. Surprisingly, it wasn’t bland. The pure maple syrup does the trick for giving it its rich flavor and the ( heavily sprinkled ) nutmeg adds just the right amount of spice!
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream make a wonderful compliment to this delicious New England pudding.
Just ask my handsome Yankee!
Merry Christmas to you and yours dear sisters! It’s such an honor and a pleasure to write to you! You’re all such a special part of our MaryJanesFarm Family ( and mine too )!
You know I love to hear from you so if you find an extra minute amongst your holiday preparations drop me a note and tell me what your cooking up this Christmas in your neck of the woods or wherever you call home!
Until our next shoreline visit~
May being together ( and yummy pudding ) be enough.
Much love and BEACH BLESSINGS from our family to yours!
Boz, Deb, Zach, Nicolette, Grammy Joy, Max, Barkley and the ” girls “!
Hi Debbie! Love your post! I live on my 1year old dream farmhouse and 26acres out of Boise in Wilder Idaho ! Ha! Like the wilder Christmas post! My hubby and I were from Spars ,Nevada before we uprooted to Idaho where we dreamed of building on our land that we owned for the last 9years! We did it ! We have three dogs! A kitty we adopted or rather he adopted us the night we brought home our three baby goats! Hoping to have my life dream of a horse and a barn soon! Maybe next year! We put in our first garden and pumpkin and corn patch! Wow! Lovin the country life I always dreamed of! So blessed! Miss the ocean though! Your lucky yo have it! Take care,Cindy
Howdy, Cindy! We lived in Sparks,NV for 10 years before we moved east! So happy your farm dreams came true for you! What a blessing! Thanks so much for your note and Merry Christmas! Xo Deb
Merry Christmas. May all of you have a dream that comes true. Mine is about to come true. Every year I used to get a tag or letter off the giving tree and fulfill some persons dream or what they wanted for Christmas. However, last year after my Husband past in 2012, I decided to contact a shelter for abused women and children and I buy things for children like cloths, party dresses, underthings for boys and girls, women and children socks, and other things like stuffed animals and necklaces and watches. I watch for sales and times that I can get off so much for clearance or items on sale. I also buy books, coloring books, and crayons. I put them in a box and this time of year I take them to a near buy town for Christmas. So many times they had to leave in a hurry and have nothing for themselves or the children. My children are grown and my Grandchildren get far to much. I do cook for them also. This year because the one daughter I will have some time with also works so I am making a casserole for her to take home for Christmas morning. Plus some other things. I am on Social Security and have to watch my pennies. This makes me happy Knowing I have helped someone else.
Hugs Kay (Karen)
I love your Christmas! It’s always a great feeling knowing you’ve helped someone in need through a challenging time. Blessings to you and your family this holiday season! xo Deb
Your recipe sounds yummy! Thank you for sharing all your stories with us. I look forward to reading them and seeing New England through your eyes (and keyboard). I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Hi Adrienne! Right back at cha! Enjoy the holidays in San Fran!!!xo Deb
Merry Christmas from the Missouri Ozarks Deb,
I love your blog, it reminds me so of growing up in San Diego by the beach!!
This year at our house its everything homemade, even the kitten beds!!
Sewed it up on the spare of the moment yesterday, and our two new kittens,
rolled the basket it sits in around the living room!! I dont know if they will ever sleep in it!!
I love my cookbook “Yankee Church Supper Cookbook”, it is wonderful for cooking for a crowd.
Greetings from Noel, Mo…………..Sending Holiday Hugs, Diana
Hi Diana! Well, I haven’t been to the beach lately… way too cold…but if the weather allows we try to make our first visit back on New Years Day… Even if it’s just a quick ride down to check on the cottage and see how the beach is faring through the winter storms. Blessings to you and yours for a happy holiday! xo Deb
OOOHH ! That sounds warming ! I love grapenuts with hot milk and honey for breakfast. I’v got to try this. Mom makes a boiled Christmas pudding with rum sauce every year. I try to save a piece for my jan. birthday Haha. Mom is 75 and grandma made it before her and she got the recipe from her mother and her mother got it from…… I have no idea how old it is and each generation has put there own “stank” on it. It really is wonderful and familiar. Makes me feel like I’m having a bit of Christmas Eve with all of them for a few magical moments.
Have a cool YULE and stay warm. MERRY CHRISTMAS !
hahahahahah! Glenda… We use that saying a lot in our house… ” stank on it ” … too funny! You have a cool YULE too! xo Deb
Merry Christmas Deb, and a Blessed New Year to you and yours. I think I would like that grapenut pudding, I love Bread Pudding growing up in La. we always had bread pudding or rice pudding pretty much was the only dessert when I was little. One of my favorite memories of our travels in the East Vermont, New Hampshire was going to a Sugar Shack, and I bought some Maple flavored Tea. OMG I still love drinking it today and the smell of the Maple always brings me back to our travels Northeast. Be Blessed Neta
Howdy, Neta! OOh… Maple flavored tea? That sounds yummy! I’ll have to look for some! I seem to stick to my faves.. Green tea, Earl Gray, and English Breakfast or English Afternoon tea but I’ll have to give that a try! I bet my hubby would love it… Blessings to you and yours for a very Merry Christmas! See you on the shorelines in 2015!xo Deb
Hi Deb..I too enjoyed your blog about Maple Grape-Nuts Pudding and hope to try it soon. My husband enjoyed puddings and soups and especially bread pudding. I too have lost my best friend in April 23,2014 and holiday has been hard for our one son and one grand-daughter. But doing things together and then I try to stay busy doing for others. I have been making fleece blankets and reconditioning stuff animals and giving to the Police Dept.,Sheriff Dept., HPD Dept., Crisis shelter and community action people to use for ones in need. I buy the fleece and toys myself and donate it all. I have been doing this for several years now and I have no idea how many I have done. Sometimes I have some help and my grand daughter helps also. Because of her, I made “Cuddlys” where left over pieces were used to put stuffed toy in center and whip stitched in the center….right size for baby to cuddle! Sammy always had about a 12″ x 12″ cloth with a small lamb on that she put on her lap when she drank her bottle. I even use wee tiny toys and smaller cloth of fleece and they are so cute. I now have helped to spread the “joy” to Denver,CO where my older sister lives and to several towns and cities in North Dakota….even blankets and toys went to Minot, ND when they flooded a year or two ago. I feel so blessed to be able to “make babies” and give to those who need them. Thank you for your blog and God Bless and Happy Holidays to all. ARLA
What a wonderful way to share your talents with others. Thinking and doing for others is some of the best medicine there is when you are dealing with grief. I’m so sorry for your loss, Arla. I bet you made a bunch of little ones feel happy, safe and warm this Christmas! Blessings to your and yours! xo Deb
Your pudding looks yummy! Perhaps someday I can try it . . probably not this year!
Sending my thoughts, wishes, and prayers to you and your family for a Blessed and Merry Christmas!
Thank you, Cj! Blessings for a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year to you too! Can’t wait to see what you’re up too creatively in 2015! xo Deb
Sounds lovely and delicicious!!!! If you havent triied fresh you simply must get some whole nutmeg! Its amazing!!! Ill mail you one if you send an address to my email. So rich it makes pregriund nutmeg tastes like nothing compared to fresh! Thanks fo your Blog. Its always lovely.
Donna in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona
Thank you, Donna! I’m sure I can find it some place. I was shopping last minute and my local grocery store didn’t have it. However,they did have candied ginger which I plan on sprinkling a top my gingerbread cake for Christmas Eve. I thought that would be harder to find than whole nutmeg. Go figure? Thanks so much for reading, and Merry Christmas! xo Deb
So fun to read your about your pudding making and seeing you and your handsome Yankee enjoying it! I will live vicariously through you, as I don’t think my three kiddos would try it! Much love to you all and all the best for a fabulous 2015!
Cousin Teri in Napa, CA
Happy New Year to you too, cuz! Loved your Christmas Card… The kiddo’s are growing up! You are a beautiful family!
Hi Deb! I really enjoyed your post! I have found whole nutmeg at Williams Sonoma, in the past and it really makes an amazing difference, in the taste of dishes. I also bought their cute nutmeg grater, which holds the whole nutmeg and also grates the nutmeg! I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2015.
Finally catching up on all the posts. Your mention of brown bread made me homesick for my Vermont roots. Loved brown bread and baked beans for Saturday night supper. It was also a favorite for suppers at the local churches and grange halls. Thanks for the memories!!