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Caleb’s Pudding

09 Jul

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Geraldine Brooks is a Pulitzer Prize winner living on Martha’s Vineyard. In her latest offering, “Caleb’s Crossing”, you can tell. Her research into the history of her adopted hometown uncovered a fascinating, though sparse, account of an Indian boy who graduated from Harvard in the year 1665. Although his first name, Caleb, was Anglicized, he retained his native last name. Inspired by the myriad questions this account raised, Brooks writes an account of his life as told by the spunky daughter of a Puritan preacher on the island. Bethia and Caleb grow up together, influencing each other’s lives in untold ways. She faithfully records the details, both historically earth-shattering and completely mundane. Bethia, though a rarity as a literate female, is also a very typical Puritan girl. She cooks, she cleans, she sews, she raises her sister, she is a faithful Christian. She also loves her native island-mates in a time where it is very unpopular. Caleb and Bethia share many meals together, one of which is “Indian Pudding”, or “Hasty Pudding”. As he taught her to find nuts and berries all over the island, it is only fitting to top your dish with both.

Caleb’s Pudding

4 cups whole milk
1/2 c cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 Tb butter
1 Tb cinnamon
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c molasses
2 eggs
Slivered almonds
Any fruit or berry in season- I used dark, sweet, Colorado cherries.

Preheat oven to 325. Bring milk to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add cornmeal, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, and molasses. Whisk constantly until thickened. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and temper them: while beating vigorously, add a big spoonful of the hot mixture. Then add another. Keep beating! Now you can add the eggs to your hot cornmeal without scrambling them. Pour the whole mess into a sprayed or buttered casserole dish (mine was 1 quart) and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Scoop and top with nuts and berries. I served mine with fried eggs and bacon.

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Posted by on July 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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