I noticed this recipe back in January and have been searching for Grape Nuts cereal. I had assumed this particular brand/type of cereal would still be available at my local grocery store since I used to buy it there a few years ago. I was shocked when I found I couldn’t buy it anywhere however I kept looking after a quick internet search revealed that it was still available in some places. On a recent trip to Toronto I found boxes of the cereal on a high shelf and stocked up. Finally I can make Grape Nut Pudding using the recipe contributed by Mrs. E. Hollinger to the 1906 Berlin Cook Book.
Grape Nuts cereal is among the few brand names to appear in the Berlin Cook Book. It is an indication that this cereal had been around for a while by 1906. According to the Post foods website the cereal was invented in 1897 by C. W. Post. Sadly for my gluten/wheat averse friends this cereal is made from wheat and not grapes or nuts. It gets its odd name from grape sugar and the nutty taste. http://www.postfoods.ca/post_heritage/
I measured 1 cup of grape nuts cereal into a mixing bowl and added 1 cup of hot water. I stirred a little and left it to sit for 15 minutes. I was guessing about both the amount of water and the time but this seemed to work. The cereal had swelled and become soft but there wasn’t any extra water sitting in the bowl. Next I added two medium eggs and half a cup of sugar. I mixed well before adding the cup of raisins and two cups of low-fat milk. Once mixed I poured it into a casserole dish and baked in the oven at 350 degrees F. After 15 minutes I gave the pudding a stir and returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes. It was still extremely liquid at the first 15 minute mark so I hoped that it would thicken or set more during its final cooking time. It was a little more set after the half hour recommended baking time but still very liquid. I decided to go ahead and remove the pudding from the oven thinking it might set a bit more as it cooled. I was also willing to try it hot.
Mary Cook and Edward Hollinger were married probably when Ed worked as a hotel clerk in Listowel near where Mary was born. They eventually moved to Waterloo and ran a hotel there before moving to Berlin. Mrs. E. Hollinger is responsible for some of the stranger recipes I’ve found in this cook book and the results of her recipes are hit and miss. Her date pudding was great while her baked banana recipe was among the biggest disasters of the year so far. I’ve speculated before that she might have cooked in the hotel. She contributed a large number of recipes to the Berlin Cook Book.
Grape Nut Pudding will likely be hated by 99% of you. It’s a bit like having sweet thin hot oatmeal with raisins for breakfast. The taste of Grape Nuts cereal comes through loud and clear and even a little of the texture is still discernible. I happened to like Grape Nuts cereal so this was edible for me. However, it is rather like a huge bran muffin from a coffee shop — unhealthy but the taste of grain fools me into thinking it is healthy.
I wonder why Mrs. E. Hollinger has so many misses among her hits when it comes to her recipes. Was she a bad cook getting lucky sometimes? Did she have problems writing and therefore the recipes are not transcribed properly? Was she trying to create healthy things for someone sick in the family? Was she the sort of cook who leaves out a key ingredient or tip? Did she have difficulty bringing large quantity recipes down to more family size quantities?
GRAPE NUT PUDDING
1 cup grape nuts soaked in hot water, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cups sweet milk, 1 cup stoned raisins. Bake for 1/2 hour, stir once or twice.