I will note at the outset that this is “Indian Pudding” as it’s made in New England– basically an enriched and sweetened cornmeal mush, baked in the oven until thick– rather than a pudding of the style made in India (which can include pumpkin). I basically decided to make it on a whim during a recent snowstorm, figuring it would help combat the cold, wintry weather outside.
I’ve never actually liked Indian Pudding in its original form– it’s not really sweet enough for me and it’s kind of one-dimensional. I decided to make it more interesting by the addition of pumpkin purée, as I love pumpkin pie and figured the pumpkin would go well with the flavor profile of the standard pudding recipe. The resulting pudding is (for me at least) the ideal breakfast food– it’s warm and comforting, with more heft than regular pumpkin pie (and all the flavor) so you don’t feel guilty about eating it for breakfast!
This past holiday season I found myself in need of a treat to make for our neighbors, who were doing us the favor of cat-sitting while we were away in California. The only problem was that I’d already denuded my refrigerator of standard ingredients for baked goods– no butter, no eggs, and I didn’t even have much chocolate in the house! What to do?
Enter the molasses cookie. Spicy and subtly sweet, it sounded like a perfect holiday-themed treat. I found a recipe that eschewed eggs and used oil instead of butter, which also kept the cookies moist and chewy rather than cakey. (seriously, they stayed moist for over a week!) A hefty dose of ginger, both powdered and crystallized, paired with the dark molasses to keep the flavor profile interesting.
So, remember my chocolate-cherry mooncakes? I loved those so much, and am always looking for an excuse to use the mooncake molds. When the holidays rolled around I figured that tiny molded desserts would be a great thing to contribute to the various gatherings we had planned, so I started brainstorming flavor combinations.
For my family Christmas celebration this year I think I’d like to make chocolate-peppermint and chocolate-orange-ginger, with the latter involving a gingerbread outer crust rather than a standard chocolate one. Of course, since I don’t want to use an untried recipe I’ve decided to do a gingerbread variation beforehand, just to test things out.
So remember my rant on Butterbeer? Well, it turns out that Universal Studios also does a butterbeer soft-serve ice cream, and it occurred to me that this could be a great vehicle for my own version of the drink.
Happily, this time my online searching indicated that at least one person has gotten the recipe right and added actual beer to the mix. I decided to make the recipe from the Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book to see what all the fuss was about.
This ice cream was pretty fantastic– the oatmeal stout provided a nice backdrop to the main flavor, which was a deep molasses-y caramel, and the salt really brought out the buttery, almost pretzel-like notes of the brown butter. The texture, even after completely frozen, is soft and scoopable, and very rich on the tongue.