Serves 8 to 10
A colonial favorite, this slightly unconventional version features lemon balm, vanilla and dried cherries, and uses maple syrup or honey as the sweetener instead of molasses.
• 3 cups milk
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 cup cornmeal (regular/finely ground)
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
• 2/3 cup chopped dried cherries
• 2 teaspoons dried lemon balm
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 eggs, beaten
• Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 1½- or 2-quart baking dish. Bring milk and butter to a rolling simmer in top of a double boiler, or heat milk and butter on high in the microwave for about 5 minutes, until boiling. Transfer milk mixture to a saucepan on the stove set to low.
2. Mix together cornmeal, walnuts, cherries, lemon balm, salt and cinnamon; stir in maple syrup or honey. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of the milk mixture, stirring constantly. Add mixture back to the saucepan on stove. Cook, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
3. Add eggs to the bowl used for the cornmeal mix. Slowly add 1/2 cup of pudding mixture from the saucepan to the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Add egg mixture back into pudding and stir to combine.
4. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until pudding is set and top is browned. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Frequent contributor Kris Wetherbee writes and gardens in the hills of western Oregon.
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