Grape Nut Custard Pudding
A classic New England dessert, Grape-Nut Custard Pudding is a lightly-sweetened egg custard combined with Grape-Nuts cereal, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Grape Nut Custard Pudding is a classic in New England cuisine that dates back to the early 1900s. It was very popular in the 1970s when I was living in Rhode Island and today you can still find it on the menu in many of the region’s diners.
Low in calories (only about 200 per serving) and easy to make, this dessert is simply a lightly-sweetened egg custard, flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg and combined with softened Grape-Nuts cereal.
Depending on the size of the pan you use (see photos) for baking, the cereal either sinks to the bottom of the custard forming a thick, soft crust or is mixed throughout.
Tips for making grape nut custard pudding
- Scald the milk and use some to soften the Grape Nuts prior to mixing them into the other custard ingredients.
- Temper the eggs by mixing in a little of the scalded milk.
- Bake the custard in a bain-marie (aka water bath).
- Cool completely before cutting.
More New England recipes
- 1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
- 1 quart whole milk
- 5 large eggs
- 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (plus more for dusting over the top of the pudding)
- Freshly ground nutmeg (for dusting over the top of the pudding)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and heat a kettle of water to just below boiling.
- Generously butter the bottom and sides of a glass baking dish (either 13 x 9 or 9 x 9 - see notes).
- Place the Grape-Nuts cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
- Scald the milk in the microwave or a saucepan and pour it over the cereal, reserving 1/2 cup for tempering the eggs.
- Set aside for 5 minutes to start softening the cereal.
- While the cereal soaks, whisk the eggs, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is a little frothy.
- Start whisking the reserved milk into the eggs, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Once the eggs are tempered, add them to the bowl with the milk and cereal.
- Stir to combine, pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle some extra cinnamon and nutmeg over the top.
- Place the baking dish into the center of a large roasting pan and carefully pour the hot water into the outer pan to a depth of about 1-inch. If you aren't familiar with baking custard in a water bath (bain-marie), click here for a more detailed explanation.
- Carefully place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the pudding pulls away from the edges of the dish slightly and a butter knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the pudding from its water-filled outer container and set the dish on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- To serve, cut into squares for serving and top with whipped cream if desired.
You can use either a 13 x 9 x 2-inch or a 9 x 9 x 2.5-inch baking dish for this recipe.
The 9 x 9 will turn out a little thicker with the cereal on the bottom and a layer of custard on top (photo #1). The 13 x 9 will be thinner without the layered look (photo #2).
Both are delicious and the flavor is the same either way.