While I was the “parent helper” in my daughter’s class a few weeks ago, her teacher Brenda read a story based on a Russian folktale called The Giant Carrot by Jan Peck.
This is the story of The Giant Carrot according to my Sofia: “Little Isabelle was dancing around the carrot that they had planted. It kept growing bigger and bigger when she sang and danced. And it was as tall as her first, but then it was as tall as her big brother, then it was as tall as her mom and then it was as tall as her dad. It kept getting bigger and bigger the more she danced and sang. Then they tried pulling the carrot up. Only little Isabelle could do it. She got carrot pudding. Her mom had carrot soup, and her big brother had carrot pie (I believe the pie is her artistic interpretation of what “big brother” had). And her dad had a big tall glass of carrot juice. The end.”
The best part (for me)? A recipe for little Isabelle’s carrot pudding was included in the book and Brenda was kind enough to share it. Being perfectly seasonal, and this being THE week for cooking with cinnamon and nutmeg (in this part of the world), I thought I would share. For the record — Sofia made these, with a little help from me.
For this recipe we used challah (I think egg breads make nearly everything tastier). The puddings are similar to a bread pudding in texture, but they are far more rustic with the grated carrot, raisins and nuts. With the tiniest dusting of powdered sugar, they are such a treat hot from the oven.
Little Isabelle’s Carrot Puddin’
by Jan Peck from The Giant Carrot book
Note: This makes 6 puddings, but you can do as the author suggests and bake one pudding in a large baking dish (or bowl). Also, honey is the sweetener here, and I followed the recipe using 1 full cup, but if you prefer your desserts a little less sweet, feel free to cut the honey by 1/4 cup or even a bit more if you like.
- 1 cup peeled and grated carrots (3-4)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I used Ceylon)
- 2 Tbsp. melted butter
- 1 cup honey (or less, if you prefer)
- 4 slices bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I used 3 and 1/2 cups challah)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
- Combine carrots, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, butter and honey. Whisk until well incorporated.
- Add bread, raisins and nuts and gently fold the mixture together.
- Pour into buttered baking dish (I used 6 small crocks that hold 3/4 cup capacity, filling with a heaping 1/2 cup of the pudding mixture).
- Bake large dish for about one hour, or 6 small crocks for 45 minutes, or until golden and toothpick comes out mostly clean. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and serve (if you bake one large pudding, scoop into small cups to serve).