I am so sick of pie I could spit. I write one little article about pie, and suddenly it’s pie galore! (That’s going to be my Bond-Girl name).
I am inundated because it’s pie season, and because I am about to demo pies up the ying-yang for the press to announce my new classes at Ecole de Cuisine Pasadena.(Incidentally, “Pies up the Ying Yang” is the new screen play I’m pitching as a sequel to Kung-Fu Panda, in which the panda’s cousin operates a bakery as a front to a thriving opium syndicate. Don’t do drugs kids.)
To make matters worse, I was just told that pie is the new cupcake. That was my queue to move on to something else. So I am now in search of the next big dessert phenomenon. I’m thinking it’s going to be pudding. Let’s see if I’m right!
My favorite puddings are old-fashioned, not unlike myself. This one is a New England classic. I first had it as a kid at Durgin Park in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall Market Place with my grandpa, right after I ate my first lobster and first fried oysters (pronounced “er-ster” ). He was a true New Englander, and talked just like the Car Talk guys.
Historically corn meal was known as Indian meal, and was used by colonists in the absence of wheat flour. The creamy texture and rich molasses flavor is the perfect remedy for cold winter nights.
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. ginger
1-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. clove
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup cream
1. Preheat oven to 300˚F. Generously butter a 9×13″ baking dish. In a small bowl combine half-and-half and cornmeal, mix and set aside. In a large saucepan bring the milk to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in cornmeal. Simmer, stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add sugar, spices, salt, molasses, and cream. Mix well and transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake at 300˚F until firm and browned, about 1-1/2 hours. Serve warm, topped with whipped or ice cream. Serves 6.