Budín de Zanahoria (Mexican Carrot Custard)

This rich vegetable pudding combines sweet, savory, and tangy with a creamy texture that kids love. (My 3½-year-old gobbles it up!) And it works with many different harvest-season vegetables. You might want to make budín de camote (sweet potato), budín de maíz (fresh corn), or budín de calabaza (squash or pumpkin), depending on what you have handy.

  • 2 pounds or 2 bunches fresh carrots
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar) or substitute brown sugar, Sucanat, rapadura, granulated palm sugar, or maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream (plus extra for garnish)
  • ¾ cup rice flour (can substitute white flour)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375º.

Cut carrots into big chunks and steam until completely tender, almost falling apart. Transfer into another pot or bowl and mash with a potato masher, fork, or whisk.

Combine melted butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until sugar is dissolved or incorporated (I recommend using an electric hand mixer if you have one. You could also use a food processor or a whisk). Add the eggs and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in the sour cream. Add in the steamed mashed carrots and beat until completely incorporated.

Mix or sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder, then add to the carrot mixture. Beat for another minute or two until everything is completely incorporated. Stir in the cheese and the nutmeg.

Pour custard into a buttered baking dish, then bake until set, about 45 minutes.

Serve hot with sour cream on the side.

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