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 Grape-Nuts cereal.
Grape-Nut custard pudding has been a favorite of New England cuisine dating back to the early 1900s. It was very popular in the 1970s when I was living in Rhode Island and you could find it on the dessert menu of many casual restaurants.
Tips for making grape nut pudding
Depending on the size of the pan you use for baking, the cereal will either sink to the bottom of the custard to form a thick, soft crust (photo above) or be distributed throughout the custard (photo below).
- Scald the milk and use some to soften the Grape Nuts prior to mixing them with the other custard ingredients.
- Temper the eggs by mixing in a little of the scalded milk.
- Bake the custard in a bain-marie (water bath).
- Cool completely before cutting.
- Leftover Grape-Nuts cereal can be frozen in a tightly sealed container for up to 6 months.
More New England recipes
New England has a wide variety of dishes unique to the region and with its vast and bountiful coastal waters, many of them center around fish and seafood.
Even though we no longer live there, we honor our New England roots by making a few iconic regional dishes. Here’s a partial list of our favorites:
If you’re interested in reading more about New England foods, Yankee Magazine/NewEngland.com has a full list of classics.
Grape-Nut Custard Pudding
- 1 cup Post Grape-Nuts cereal
- 4 cups 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 it 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 the cereal and milk aside for 5 minutes to begin softening.
- While the cereal soaks, whisk the eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt, and cinnamon 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.