From the first year that my husband and I met, I have gone to Thanksgiving dinner at his house. His mother is an excellent cook and between her, his grandmother, and his sister (a trained pastry chef), they put on a pretty mean spread… with enough food for 20 people. My family lives further away and since the traffic around Thanksgiving is usually pretty awful, we have historically taken the easy route and headed to dinner a few towns over.
This year, we are switching things up. Marc’s parents are headed to North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with his sister. That means that we are packing up the girls and the car and making the six hour drive to upstate NY where my mom lives. I am pretty excited because it means that we will get to have a big ol’ dinner with my family (all 7 of us) and because it will be our chance to do some Thanksgiving cooking. Marc and my mom have struck a deal… if she watches the girls, he will cook the whole meal. I think that both parties are pretty excited.
In honor of this momentous occasion, we have been tossing around different menu options and trying out new recipes. This recipe for carrot pudding is an unusal, and delicious, way to cook carrots. The original recipe was more savory but we modified it to make a dish that is elegant in presentation and sweet enough for dessert. Not only is this recipe unique, it is simple to put together and can be done ahead of time to help spare the overworked Thanksgiving cook.
Adapted from The Thanksgiving Table (2001 edition)
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Place the carrots in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat until carrots are simmering, and cook until they can easily be pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Puree the carrots with the lemon juice.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tbls of the butter and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining butter, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until smooth. Add the carrots and beat until well blended. Add the milk and eggs and mix until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, until the pudding is puffed and lightly browned and the center is firm to the touch, about 50-60 minutes.
Serve immediately with a dollop of softly whipped fresh cream. Serves 4-6 as a side dish.
* To make this dish more savory: increase the salt to 1 tsp, add 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and 2 tbls grated yellow onion.
You can cook and puree the carrots up to two days in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before making the pudding. The whole pudding can be assembled several hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.