I really wanted to share this recipe here even though hominy is not a very popular ingredient in the USA and perhaps not that easy to find (although I find it easily here in Seattle, at my grocery store in the Latin products aisle). Hominy looks like white dried corn kernels. This dessert is a typical Brazilian recipe that is normally made during the winter months (June, July and August). Although Wikipedia compares it to the American grits, I think Canjica (KAN-JEE-KA) is more like a rice pudding, but made with hominy instead of rice.
The recipe makes a lot, so keep left overs in the fridge. The use of crushed peanuts on top is optional, but most Brazilians wouldn't have it without it. Sweet condensed milk is a pantry staple in Brazil and it's used a lot more over there than here in the U.S. (not really something to be proud of). The amount of sugar to be added depends on your taste. Sweet condensed milk is already sweet, and if you are using shredded coconut that is already sweetened you might want to wait until the end of the cooking to see if more sugar is needed.
This is a very warming dessert. The spices make it so fragrant, it feels like a hug in your belly. For me it is even more, it's a bowl of sweetness that sends me back in time, straight to my mom's kitchen.
Hominy and Coconut Pudding Recipe:
You will need:
1 lb/500g of hominy (found in Latin Markets or Latin aisle of your supermarket)
2 quarts of water
1 can of sweet condensed milk
1 can of coconut milk
2 1/2 cups (500ml) of whole milk
2 sticks of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
10 whole cloves (see note below)
2 tablespoons of sugar (or more to taste)
2 cups of shredded coconut
crushed, toasted peanuts (optional)
Soak the hominy in water overnight. In a large pot, cook hominy with it's soaking water until they are soft, about 50 minutes. Add the condensed milk, whole milk, coconut milk and mix it well. Add the spices (cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, cloves) and sugar, bring it to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring every once in a while. The pudding will thicken slightly. Stir in the shredded coconut and sweeten if necessary according to your taste.
Serve hot in individual bowls topped with a pinch of ground cinnamon and a tablespoon of crushed toasted peanuts (if using).
Note: I use a ball-shaped tea strainer that closes and place the cloves inside, so they won't get lost in the pudding and end up in my mouth. It is not a big deal, but you don't want to swallow an entire clove. Another option is making a sachet for the cloves using cheese cloth.