Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Polenta Pudding with Blueberry Topping

I don't exactly advocate cooking in the microwave. In fact, I prided myself living without one for 2 years in a 5th floor East Village walk-up, even popping my own popcorn over the stove, and assiduously reheating all leftovers in a saucepan.  Turns out, though, that the environmental impact of a microwave isn't so bad; from a health standpoint, you just need to cover over with paper towels or wax paper when cooking, instead of plastic wrap.

So when I recently read that microwaves turn out quick polenta with no clumping and easy clean-up, it seemed worth a try. This entire recipe cooks in 10 minutes.

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup vegan sugar, divided
  • 2 cups plain non-dairy milk
  • 6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the blueberries and 1/4 cup of the sugar.

2. Cover with wax paper (I like the unbleached soy wax paper from If You Care) and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through.  The sugar should be dissolved.  Set aside.

3. In a large (2-quart) glass bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, milk, cornmeal, and lemon rind, stirring with a whisk.  Microwave for 7 minutes, stirring at 2 minute intervals.  Each time, the cornmeal will be noticeably thicker in the milk.  Here it is after the third stir (6 minutes):

By the 7th minute, it should be thick and bubbly.  Remove from the microwave and stir in the vanilla and salt.

4. Spoon 1/2 cup pudding into each of 4 dessert bowls. I recommend working quickly, as the polenta will continue to thicken as it cools:

5. Top each serving with about 3 tablespoons blueberry topping and serve warm.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1/2 cup pudding, 3 tablespoons topping), Calories 226

Tasting Notes:
Color me impressed, microwave. You produced a creamy, sweet cornmeal pudding that was just delightful. I'm not sure I've ever eaten anything quite like this, only kept thinking it had a very Colonial American taste. The closest thing would probably be the Tortitas de Maiz I prepared for this blog, except this would be the warm pudding version of those cooked patties.  The vanilla stirred in at the end is just fantastic, and the blueberry topping is sweet and syrupy. Delicious all around, and bonus points for easy clean-up.

Update: Leftovers are quite good chilled, despite the recipe instructions to serve warm, so fret not if you have extras.


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