At the Chowing with the Hounds in September, David Boyk brought a dish called Budín de Zanahoria (carrot pudding) that I really liked. I'm going to make it for Thanksgiving because its blend of savory and sweet would make it a perfect match with Thanksgiving foods. It's also nice because it's much lighter than the more typically starchy side dishes.
Anyway, I had the chance to make it this morning for a potluck. I took Carb Lover's idea and grated some orange zest into the batter. Then I reduced the juice of that orange with a bit of sugar and cinnamon and poured in some walnuts to coat. I scattered the nuts over the pudding during the last 10 minutes of baking which browned the nicely. The end result was good, but a bite with an orangy walnut was much better than a bite of just the pudding alone. The sweet and sourness of the reduced orange juice really brought it all together. I also think it needed more egg whites to give it an even lighter texture.
I also just happened to see a copy of Diana Kennedy's book with this recipe later in the day. Interestingly, for the carrot version (the original recipe is pea not carrot), she recommends substituting raisins for the cheese and topping with rum instead of the orange/walnut sauce. I don't like the sound of the cheese/raisin swap, but the rum sure does sound good.
I'm also thinking that a bit of spice would be nice. A tiny bit of cumin and nutmeg I think would be great. So, based on all of this learning, I'm thinking of making the dish as follows. I hope to get a chance to test this before the big event, but I might just have to risk it.
Budín Nuevo de Zanahoria (New Carrot Pudding)
2 pounds peeled and steamed carrots
6 ounces unsalted butter
3 egg yolks and 5 egg whites.
1/2 cup brown sugar sugar
6 ounces rice flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound jack cheese, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Zest of 1 orange
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 cups orange juice
1 tbsp sugar
1 pinch cinnamon
1 tbsp rum
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Pass the carrots through a food mill, ricer, or food processor. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Beat yolks well. Add the sugar and beat until well mixed. Beat in flour and butter. Stir in the carrots, salt, cheese, zest, nutmeg, cumin, and baking powder. Mix well. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into mixture.
Pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish (no larger than 9x13). Bake at 500F for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 and bake for another 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the orange juice and sugar to a pot and reduce liquid by half. Stir in cinnamon. Add rum and simmer for another couple minutes to cook off some of the alcohol. Keep warm until pudding is ready.
When sides are well browned and pudding is spongy to the touch in the center, remove from oven. Pour sauce evenly over top, scatter walnuts, and serve.