This Recipe For A New England Classic Is One That Shouldn’t Be Forgotten

Grape-Nuts cereal has always appealed to me. I’m not sure what it has to do with grapes or nuts, but it’s crunchy and adorable, and it has a great mellow flavor. I’ve been eating it since I was a kid, but I’d never thought to use it in a dish, and I’d never heard of Grape-Nuts Custard until I came across this recipe card in a vintage recipe tin. It turns out to be a basic but soothing soft, sweet, and somewhat nutty custard.

When I discovered this old tin of handwritten recipe cards, I decided to give the dishes inside a new lease on life by cooking my way through them. It’s known as the Recipe Tin Project. It’s a treasure trove of old recipes, including timeless classics like Chocolate Cake and Chicken Casserole, as well as not-so-timeless novelties like Jellied Chicken Gumbo, which was my first undertaking.

You can read more about the contents of the tin and the project in the first post here.The thought of Grape-Nuts Custard piqued my interest, as did the charming picture and weak handwriting on the card. Because I’d never heard of it before, I looked it up to see if it was a secret family recipe or something popular at the time. Surprisingly, Grape-Nuts have been around since 1897, and a recipe for Grape-Nuts custard appeared in a magazine as early as 1901.

It became popular throughout New England in the 1920s, so I guess it’s been a classic all along and I simply didn’t know about it!I can see why it has lasted so long. The Grape-Nuts sink to the bottom (with a few floating to the top) and form a delicate crust that contrasts nicely with the just-sweet-enough eggy custard. It’s delicate and simple, with just the proper amount of whipped cream and cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkled on top.

I’ve included the original recipe from the card below, though I’ve expanded the instructions slightly to make things easier. I also adjusted the baking time because mine took closer to 50 minutes to bake, despite the card’s recommendation of 40-45 minutes. You can experiment with the amount of Grape-Nuts; I thought it could use a few more, so try boosting them to a 1/2 cup for a bit more texture if you’re so inclined.I’m very delighted I came across this recipe card. While this classic is new to me, it is well-known to many, and for good reason. You should try it out!

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