So I was recipe hunting and a recipe for "Wheat Berry Pudding" totally caught my eye, because even with my love for a good bowl of cracked wheat, no matter how much sugar you put in it, you just can't call it dessert... wouldn't you agree? And let me back up and say that my love is sincere. I have fond memories of mom at the stove in her PJ's on a cold winter morning, cooking up some good old fashioned cracked wheat before we had to catch the bus. I'm pretty sure I was the only one who gobbled it up without complaint. Ok- so I have unusual taste buds. I am embarrassed to admit that sometimes it sat there all day- undisturbed, with one big scoop missing, and I would eat it again for my "after-school-snack." Yep- just had to make sure you understood that I really like hot cereal. :) So I didn't have a food processor or the dutch-oven to try this out, but I followed it as closely as I could and tried to speed up the process a bit.
Lyd's Tip: I used cracked wheat because it cooks a lot faster. (If you only have wheat berries, you can just pulse them a couple times in the blender—it will be noisy, but it will cook in about half the time.)
Dessert or not? I'm still a little undecided. I liked it a lot, but then I liked it before, so I'm probably not the best judge. :) I liked the cinnamon a lot though and I just got a food processor for Christmas (can we say REALLY HAPPY ME!) and I am anxious to try this out again using "proper methods" just because I am truly fascinated that cracked wheat could be served as a healthy, delicious dessert. Who knew? Who still doesn't know? Me either...
I'll keep you posted on my findings, but here is the recipe so far:
Wheat Berry Pudding (EatingWell)
1 cup wheat berries, (see Note) (Remember my tip about the cracked wheat)
2 tablespoons plus 3 cups low-fat milk, divided
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip orange zest, (1/2 by 2 inches)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup low-fat maple yogurt, (optional)
Sort through wheat berries carefully; discard any stones. Rinse well. Place in a large heavy saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, adding more water if necessary, until the wheat berries are tender, about 1 hour. Drain well.
Place the wheat berries and 2 tablespoons milk in a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides as necessary, until most of the wheat berries are coarsely chopped (some may remain whole).
Combine the chopped wheat berries, the remaining 3 cups milk, cinnamon stick, orange zest and salt in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the mixture is very thick, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the cinnamon stick and orange zest. Stir in maple syrup and vanilla.
Serve warm or chilled, sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with a dollop of maple yogurt, if desired. (Stir in more milk if the pudding gets too thick as it stands.)
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the cooked wheat berries (Step 1) for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Cover and refrigerate the pudding for up to 2 days.
Note: Wheat berries of any variety (hard, soft, spring or winter) can be used interchangeably. Labeling is inconsistent—you may find them labeled “hard red winter wheat” without the words “wheat berries.” Find them in natural-foods markets and online at kingarthurflour.com. Some recipes instruct soaking overnight, but we found it unnecessary.
To cook: Sort through wheat berries carefully, discarding any stones, and rinse with water. Bring 4 cups water or broth and 1 cup wheat berries to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, but still a little chewy, about 1 hour. Drain.
Per serving: 182 calories; 2 g fat ( 1 g sat , 0 g mono ); 6 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 71 mg sodium; 43 mg potassium.
Carbohydrate Servings: 2
Exchanges: 1 starch. 1/2 low-fat milk, 1 other carbohydrates