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New England Holiday Pudding

1/2 cup yellow (enriched) cornmeal
5 cups reduced-fat milk (2 percent), scalded (see Note)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cups fruit fresh, frozen, or canned (peaches, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, etc.), lightly sweetened to taste, as necessary

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a baking pan or casserole with cooking oil spray.

Put cornmeal in top of a double boiler and hot water in the bottom pot. Set over medium high heat and bring water to a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat milk until hot and tiny bubbles form along the sides. (Do not let it come to a boil.) Stir milk into cornmeal, blending well. Cook over hot water for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add molasses, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Pour into baking pan and bake 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare fruit, depending on what version you use. Drain canned fruit. Defrost frozen berries, or wash and hull fresh berries, and lightly sweeten with sugar. Cranberries, frozen or fresh, can also be used after cooking in water and sugar, according to package instructions.

Divide pudding among 6 wide and shallow bowls. Place two or more varieties of fruit along the edge of the pudding, in concentric circles, placing lighter-colored fruit on the inside (like peaches and strawberries) and darker-colored fruit (like cranberries and blueberries) on the outside.

Note: Scalding milk helps blend cornmeal more easily and speeds the cooking process. Scald milk by heating it to the point just before it would begin to boil, or when tiny bubbles form along the sides. At that point, immediately remove from heat and promptly add to cornmeal.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 309 calories, 4 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat), 63 g. carbohydrate, 8 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 307 mg. sodium.


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