New England Holiday Pudding
1/2 cup yellow (enriched) cornmeal
5 cups reduced-fat milk, scalded (See note)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups fresh fruit (peaches, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, etc.), lightly sweetened with sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Coat a baking pan or casserole with cooking oil spray.
Put cornmeal in top of a double broiler 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 mixture into a baking pan and bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Wash and hull fresh berries, and lightly sweeten with sugar. Cranberries can also be used after cooking in water and sugar. Divide the 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.