My first encounter with Indian Pudding was over 30 years ago at Durgin Park, a landmark restaurant in Faneuil Hall, Boston, famous for its home-style Yankee cooking and, at the time, its cranky, octogenarian waitresses.
Few desserts look so completely unappetizing yet taste so incredibly good!
One bite of this lumpy, brown mush, with a dab of vanilla ice cream, and I was sold. Scraped every last bit from the bowl.
Why indian pudding isn't more widely known I have no idea; it's one of my favorite desserts of all time, and a traditional New England Thanksgiving classic.
Indian pudding is a baked custard with milk, butter, molasses, eggs, spices, and cornmeal.
The name is likely derived from the cornmeal, which was known as indian meal way back when.
What Is Indian Pudding?
This pudding has nothing to do with India. It's also not a food that Native Americans (or indians —the preferred term depends on the person you're asking) made themselves. So what gives with the name?
Native Americans introduced early New England colonists to corn, and it became a valuable part of the colonist's diet, in no small part because the wheat flour they were accustomed to was hard to come by in New England in those days. Colonists adapted British hasty pudding — a quick dish featuring wheat flour, molasses, and spices — to utilize corn meal, or "indian meal", instead. A recipe appeared in Amelia Simmon's American Cookery in 1796, but indian pudding had been around for many decades by then.
6 cups milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup golden raisins, optional
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Scald the milk and butter:
Scald the milk and butter in a large double boiler. Or heat the milk and butter for 5 or 6 minutes on high heat in the microwave, until it is boiling, then transfer it to a pot on the stove. Keep hot on medium heat.
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Start the cornmeal batter:
In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, and salt; stir in molasses. Thin the mixture with about 1/2 cup of scalded milk, a few tablespoons at a time, then gradually add the mixture back to the large pot of scalded milk. Cook, stirring until thickened.
Temper the eggs, then add to the batter:
Temper the eggs by slowly adding a half cup of the hot milk cornmeal mixture to the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture back in with the hot milk cornmeal mixture, stir to combine.
Add sugar, spices, and raisins, if using:
Stir in the sugar and spices, until smooth. At this point, if the mixture is clumpy, you can run it through a blender to smooth it out. Stir in the raisins (optional).
Pour into a 2 1/2 quart shallow casserole dish. Bake for 2 hours at 250°F.
Cool for 1 hour:
Allow the pudding to cool about an hour to be at its best. It should be reheated to warm temperature if it has been chilled.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
It's National Indian Pudding Day! Here's Why You Should Celebrate - fun article on NPR including another recipe for indian pudding
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 17g||22%|
|Saturated Fat 10g||50%|
|Total Carbohydrate 40g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 32g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|