The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook‘s best recipes are for vegetables and desserts – and the Cardamom-Spiced Carrot Pudding is a little bit of both. It’s intended as a side dish, but the fragrant cardamom and a little bit of added sugar brings out the sweetness in the carrots and inches it closer to dessert territory. Think candied yams. Pair it with a dark green vegetable and a big slab of red meat. It would also pair well with poultry and gravy or a Mediterranean-spiced protein, like my cumin-spiced pork roast.
I’ve adjusted the recipe to go all in on the Mediterranean flavors – i’ve added ground pistachios both for flavor and texture, and replaced white sugar with pomegranate molasses. I’ve also added a few more eggs which – surprisingly – makes it lighter and more like a souffle. The end result is kind of a cross between colonial-era side dish and a Middle Eastern halwa.
The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook is still in print, and available from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3qT90ZF
- 2 lbs carrots, peeled
- 1-2 slices french bread or brioche (to create 1 cup of fresh crumbs)
- 4 eggs (separated)
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups half and half (divided)
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt ((omit if you're using salted pistachios))
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
- pistachios, finely slivered (for serving)
- Cut carrots into one inch chunks and steam until soft, about 25 minutes. Mash and set aside. (This can be done in advance. Cover mashed carrots tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days)
- Crumb the bread slices using a cheese grater or chopping finely until you have one cup of soft bread crumbs. Mix the cardamom and pistachios and coarsely grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F and grease a 9 x 9 square glass baking dish. Beat the egg yolks and pomegranate molasses in a small bowl until fully incorporated.
- Mix 1/4 cup of half-and-half with the cornstarch with a fork to form a slurry. Heat another 3/4 cup of the half-and-half over low heat. When heated add the slurry in a slow stream, stirring constantly, and continue to whisk/stir mixture until it starts to thicken and is heated through.
- Pour a small amount of the cornstarch mixture into the egg yolks/molasses mixture and mix well. Pour this mixture back into the rest of the cornstarch mixture and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until the mixture resembles a thin custard. If you end up with a few scrambled eggs bits its not the end of the world, but try to avoid this if possible.
- When the custard has thickened stir in the carrots, butter, salt, and bread crumbs. Remove from heat and stir in cream and cardamom.
- Beat the egg whites to form stiff peaks and fold into the carrot custard. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Place the baking dish in a larger pan of water and cook for 60 - 90 minutes, or until the custard is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- If desired, garnish with thin slivers of pistachio before serving.