Grape-Nut Custard Pudding

Grape-NutsGrape-Nuts is definitely one of the strangest cereal options, in my opinion. Wake up and break your teeth on a bowl of “little rocks”, as my mother-in-law likes to call them!My grandmother used to pour boiling water over them first and let it soak in and then add the milk.

Grape-Nuts is a breakfast cereal developed in 1897 by C. W. Post, a patient and later competitor of the 19th-century breakfast food innovator, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Despite its name, the cereal contains neither grapes nor nuts; it is actually made from wheat and barley. Mr. Post believed that sucrose (which he called “grape sugar”) formed during the baking process. This, combined with the nutty flavor of the cereal, is said to have inspired its name. Another explanation originates from employees at Post, who claim that the cereal got its name due to its resemblance to grape seeds, or grape “nuts.” The cereal originally prepared by C. W. Post when he was developing the product was a batter that came out of the oven as a rigid sheet. He then broke the sheet into pieces and ran them through a coffee grinder to produce the “nut” sized kernels.

One of my favorite ad campaigns for the cereal in the 1970s generated another catchphrase, as Euell Gibbons became the spokesperson for the brand, promoting Grape-Nuts as the “Back to Nature Cereal.” The line “Ever eat a pine tree?” proved to draw increased attention to the product from consumers, as well as from comedians of all sorts.

My friend Brady prompted me to write about Grape-Nut Custard Pudding. As teenagers we would eat at a local diner and make fun of the fact that you could eat without your dentures! Now, of course, I get it!

This is a very popular recipe in all of New England. Kind of like Indian Pudding.

Grape-Nut Custard Pudding

Serves 6

1 quart milk, scalded
1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
4 large eggs
scant 1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 Tbs 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).


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