Monday, July 12, 2010

Matinicus Islanders Don't Need Instructions: Grapenut Puddings

Today, two recipes, one key ingredient, and not a lot of instructions to get in the way. The Ladies Aid really do expect you to know what the hell you're doing in a kitchen... many of the recipes in Favorite Recipes from Matinicus Island Maine have only the vaguest sketches of a method to guide you.
Baked Grapenut Pudding

4 eggs
1 quart milk
1 cup grapenuts
1 cup sugar or sweeten to taste
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bake like custard in moderate oven. Test as for custard. Serve with whipped cream.

--Carrie Ames
Got that? Good. That's all you're getting out of Carrie Ames. So, if you're not up for doing anything "like custard," hop on over to What's Cooking America to read up on Old-Fashioned Baked Custard. If you've ever made a creme brulee, you've made a baked custard. Is the recipe a bit less scary if I say "Bake like a creme brulee"? We're a long way from Matinicus in the 60s.

If the whole custard/creme thing is making you shy away from the potential wonder of baked cereal desserts, try this:
Grapenut Pudding

Put 1/2 cup minute tapioca in 3 cups cold water. Cook until clear. Then add:

1/2 cup grapenuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins or dates
1/2 cup walnuts

Cook a few miutes -- Cool and serve with whipped cream.
This recipe isn't attributed to any particular Matinicus Ladies Aid member. Is it because the author knew her Grape-Nut pudding to be less decadent, less tasty than Carrie Ames's? Did they have a bet, and she who won a Grape-Nut Pudding Off got to have the glory?

Grape-Nuts was my favorite cereal when I was a kid. Yes, really. I love the sweet malty goodness of it. I love when the crispiness starts giving way to soggy soggy bliss. I love it hot. I love it cold. I love thinking of it as a big "screw you" to Kellogg and his comparatively insipid corn flakes. I think it's kind of cool that the ladies of Matinicus treat Grape-Nuts as a generic ingredient. I know the good people at Post cereals probably wouldn't share that glee, so be sure that you always respect brand trademarks.

Unless you're quoting a cookbook, of course.


  1. This is fantastic! The only way I can ever make creme brulee custards is with a very specific set of cooking instructions and carefully-calibrated temperature monitoring equipment. They come out great...but I'd have no idea how to translate success with that recipe into success with these!

  2. I honestly thought that I didn't know how to make a baked custard, either, until I dug up a recipe and recognized the method.