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An updated version of the classic New England dessert - Grapenut Pudding with a delicious fig sauce.

Our recipe for Grapenut Pudding with Fig Sauce is an updated version of a classic dessert that has been served at restaurants throughout New England for decades.  Many New Englanders are familiar with grapenut pudding – a rich, egg custard spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, and a soft bottom layer of grapenut ‘crust’ that forms as the custard bakes and the cereal settles in the bottom of the baking dish.

I have to admit, I was never much of a fan of grapenut pudding. So when my husband first made the traditional recipe for us to feature here on A Family Feast – I rejected the recipe.  (Afterall…we want only the best recipes to be featured here!)  So Jack, always up for a challenge, set out to improve the recipe – and he’s created a version that I think is fabulous!

An updated version of the classic New England dessert - Grapenut Pudding with a delicious fig sauce.

This updated version has malted milk powder added to the custard to give it a richer and slightly sweeter flavor.  Plus we’ve added a simple but elegant fig sauce to serve over the top that really compliments the flavors of the custard and it really elevates this dessert to a whole new level.  This pudding can be served as-is or with vanilla ice cream.

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Grape Nut Pudding with Fig Sauce

Grapenut Pudding with Fig Sauce

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


For the pudding

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup malted milk powder (such as Ovaltine)
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Nutmeg and cinnamon to sprinkle on top of custard
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For the sauce

  • 4 fresh figs, tops cut off and diced
  • ¼ cup port wine
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice


For the pudding

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat milk in saucepan with cinnamon stick, vanilla, nutmeg and malted milk powder and heat until scalded – this is 180 degrees measured by using a probe thermometer. (If you don’t have a probe thermometer, this is hot but not to a boil.) Scalding the milk will help infuse the flavors of the cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and malt and also lessen the baking time.
  3. Add the Grape Nuts cereal to the milk mixture and let sit for ten minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg yolk. Add both sugars and salt and beat again to mix.
  5. Remove the cinnamon stick from the milk and discard.
  6. Add a small amount of hot milk to the eggs, beating constantly as you go. (This is called tempering or bringing the egg temperature slowly up so that they do not cook and become scrambled eggs.) As soon as the eggs are tempered (close to the same temperature as the milk), add the remaining milk and Grape Nuts.
  7. Butter a medium casserole dish (ours was 7 ½” round by 3” deep but you can use any size you wish and alter the cooking time.) Pour all contents into the buttered dish and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and nutmeg.
  8. Place the filled casserole dish into a larger pan and fill hot water up and around the outside of the glass dish until the water is halfway up. (See our How-To Bake Using a Water Bath here – if using a glass baking dish, you will not need to wrap in foil first).
  9. Place the pan in the oven and bake for ninety minutes or until a paring knife or tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Again, the cooking time will vary greatly depending on the size of your baking dish – a 9×13-inch glass dish should take approximately 50 minutes to cook. Let cool for ten minutes before serving.
  10. Scoop into serving dishes and top with fig sauce. May also be served with ice cream or whipped cream.

For the fig sauce

  1. Combine all five ingredients into a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Heat longer for a thicker consistency.

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  • Emily wrote:

    This is perfect as I have some Grape Nuts to use up. I also have some dried figs pieces and was wondering if I could use these instead of fresh…any idea what the translation in quantity would be? Fresh figs are hard to come by where I live. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Emily – Yes – you could rehydrate the dried figs in hot water (or even the port wine). I’m guessing here but I’d start with around 1/4 cup of dried figs and go from there…depending how dried the figs were to start with.

  • Dina wrote:

    i’d never heard of grapenuts pudding. sounds interesting and your version sounds delish!

  • Vespa Woolf wrote:

    I’ve never had grapenut pudding, but this one sounds and looks fabulous. We live right where figs are harvested here in Peru so this will be a great recipe for us. Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow Vespa! Freshly harvested figs must be amazing to eat!! I hope you enjoy the recipe! FYI – We also have a great recipe in our appetizer section for a Baked Fig Crostini that is also really delicious! Thanks for stopping by!

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