Pumpkin Pudding

   My nutrition professor often emphasized that very small children should eat simple nourishing foods and that they do not have the capacity for concentrated sweets and high calorie fatty foods simply because their total daily calorie needs are so small. The concentrated foods displace the necessary foods that children need for optimal growth and health. When Rita was small and as her siblings joined us those were the tenants of meal planning that I followed for our family.
   We moved quite often when they were young due to the nature of employment and shelf stable foods became important. During this time I created a simple nourishing pudding recipe from canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, plain gelatin, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. It became quite popular with many family members and it was included in the family recipe book that was published in 1993.
   Every year during this holiday season it has been a tradition to make a batch of pumpkin pudding for my younger brother. He has a family of his own now so I make a double batch that is enough for them to share. So in preparation for my sibling reunion this past weekend I made pudding for Jon. Here is the recipe in all its gluten-free glory.        

Pumpkin Pudding

2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon (1 packet) plain gelatin *

1 15-16 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar *
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup evaporated milk *

Fair warning: Gelatin is tricky so go slowly and follow these steps in the order written.

1. Put the water in the bottom of a 1-quart saucepan. Sprinkle the dry gelatin granules over the water and try to distribute so that there are no dry patches remaining. Give it 2-3 minutes to ‘soften’.
2. Turn the heat on low to medium-low and gently melt the mixture until it looks like clear glue. Stay with it here – gelatin plus too much heat rapidly deteriorates.
3. Stir the pumpkin puree into the gelatin mixing it thoroughly and keeping the heat low. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon and keep stirring. (Don’t forget the cinnamon – if you add it with the milk it will lump and not mix properly 😉 ).
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually add the evaporated milk stirring to mix well.
5. Pour into a serving bowl. Chill until firm and cover after it sets up (it sweats and drips onto the pudding if you cover it first).

* Knox is the brand of gelatin and I much prefer Carnation evaporated milk (my personal taste). It tastes wonderful made with coconut milk as well (the full fat version, not lite) For the sugar you need to consider your audience. Small taste buds may not care yet for brown sugar whereas adults like the dark brown. The middle-of-the- road light brown sugar is a good choice when you are not sure. We have also made sugar-free on occasions with various substitutes.

Mom

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2 Comments »

  1. Ricki said

    Have you ever worked with agar? I think I may try this with it instead of gelatin!

  2. gfedge said

    I need to try that also. There is a small packet of agar in the cupboard waiting for me to be brave enough to try it!

    We also have mucho sweet potatoes and a similar recipe that uses pineapple juice for the liquid so maybe I can start with that one (the sweet potato crop over in East Texas was really good this year).

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