January 14, 2016

Indian Pudding

While I was researching this recipe I was pretty shocked to find out that this is a New England dessert and nobody else will probably have any idea what you're talking about if you mention it.  Weird huh? I'm not from New England and yet I've heard of it.  I've never tried it but I know of the name.  My husband is from New England and he's never tried it either. Fascinating isn't it? Okay maybe just to me. 

Here's the history as I've come to find out. This dessert has always been a staple at Thanksgiving through much of the 20th century in New England. Historians have traced it back to as early as the 17th century. It probably defended from England's hasty pudding. This pudding uses cornmeal which was more abundant to the early settlers than wheat was. Molasses was also readily available and inexpensive during that time due to the production of rum during the 17 and 18th centuries. This pudding is also baked for a long time at a relatively low temperature which would have been conducive to the hearth that was in every home in New England to heat the house. 

The taste is very "fall like".  By that, I mean the molasses and cinnamon and ginger are prevalent flavors.  The texture is custard like. It's extremely moist, with small little grains from the corn meal.  It's very tender and ice cream is perfect when served with it.  My husband really enjoyed it, he's the custard lover in the family.  I wouldn't describe this as "creamy" but it's not chunky or anything either.  Have you ever soaked cornbread in milk? Its sort of like that....I thought that flavors were wonderful and I can see why it's a holiday favorite. 

Indian Pudding
Recipe from Cape Cod Cookbook

  • 5 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 quart (4 cups) milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten separately
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the cornmeal and milk and whisk together so there are no lumps.
  2. Heat over medium heat until the mixture has scalded (look for tiny bubbles along the edge of the pan).
  3. Add the butter, molasses and seasonings and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour a tiny bit of the liquid in with the beaten eggs and whisk, add more of the liquid and whisk some more. After the eggs have heated you can pour them into the liquid mixture in the saucepan. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into a well greased casserole pan.
  6. Add the evaporated milk to the top but do not mix together.
  7. Bake at 350┬║ for 1 hour.

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