Long before the leaves turn, the hunter’s moon appears and the blackbirds gather, you know fall has truly arrived when you can finally turn on the oven without first turning on the air.
Before then, the days remain summer-warm with windows-open temperatures day and night.
It feels reckless, wasteful even, to simultaneously cool and heat the house, even when ever so tempted by autumn’s fat knobs of roast squash and smooth ridges of baked pumpkin.
So now that it’s cooled down a bit, cook squash for supper’s vegetable, then turn the oven down for an unusual variation of Indian pudding.
Its history harkens to 17th-century American colonies. Traditional versions are made with cornmeal, milk and molasses but since first trying this delicious apple-cider combination a year ago, I can’t fathom anything but!
APPLE CIDER INDIAN PUDDING
Time to table: 90 minutes
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 2/3 cup cornmeal (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
- 3 cups apple cider (not juice)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup currants or raisins (see TIPS)
- 4 tablespoons butter (in bits if cold)
- Another 1/2 cup skim milk
Preheat oven to 325F.
Scald (that is, heat until just before boiling) 1/2 cup milk in large saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk cornmeal and cider in medium bowl, smashing lumpy bits. Slowly stir cornmeal into scalded milk (will look curdled). Cook until mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
In same bowl (no need to wash), whisk together egg, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and currants. Slowly add to hot mixture, stirring entire time. Stir in butter until it melts. Stir in second 1/2 cup milk.
Pour into greased pie or quiche dish, stir gently to distribute currants. Bake for 60 minutes or until golden. Let cool 15 minutes. To serve, scoop into bowls and drizzle with cream.
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