New England Dessert
One of New England's oldest dishes, a staple with the colonists. If you've never had it, you're in for a treat. It tastes a bit like pumpkin pie but with a grainier texture.
Preheat oven to 300. In a medium saucepan, heat milk almost to a boil. Stir continually to prevent a skin from forming or scorching the milk. Pour in cornmeal, bit at a time, stirring vigorously for 15 minutes to incorporate. The mixture should resemble a thick breakfast cereal. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients, except eggs.
Allow cornmeal to cool just slightly, then add eggs (if it's too hot, eggs will cook). Pour into a greased 2-qt. casserole and bake for 3 hours. Set aside for at least 1 hour. Serve warm with heavy cream, whipped cream, or iced cream.
Tips & Glossary
Bouquet Garni: (boo-kay gar-nee), a bundle of herbs tied together with string or wrapped in cheese cloth square. Usual herbs include parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, and peppercorns. They release their flavor during long cooking. Used to flavor soups and stews and removed before serving.
Ginger: dried ground ginger is far more potent than freshly grated from the root. Sweet dessert recipes call for ground powder. If you wish to use freshly grated ginger, use 6 times the amount of ground called for in the recipe.
Nutmeg: Use small whole nuts and store them, tightly covered, in a dry dark area. Grate what you need using the smallest grating edge or grind in a food processor. What a difference from store bought nutmeg!
Piecrust: Store-bought versions are heaven-sent for those who have neither the time nor the know-how for good homemade piecrust. But for those willing to make their own, the payoff is great. See our recipe for Noel's Pie Crust.
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