Tag Archives: traditional recipe

Make a Real American Dessert: Indian Pudding

Well, darn, we missed National Indian Pudding Day. Mark your calendar for November 13 next year, but don’t wait untili then to bake what some consider the FIRST genuinely uniquely American recipe.  You can read about it, and see the recipe from the venerable Wayside Inn (Built by my Howe ancestors, ahem) at this NPR site.

As the article points out, the original was probably very simple–cornmeal, molasses and milk steamed or baked over an open fired.  But today we favor versions adding egg for a lighter texture and spices for a livelier flavor.

Unfortunately, Indian Pudding is not very photogenic, so you’re only getting one picture–the one with the recipe below, where the pudding is slathered in whipped cream.  It may be the plain Jane of desserts, but it’s a swell after-dinner date nonetheless.

I found the recipe I used at a good site for historic recipes--What’s Cooking America.

This recipe was shared with me by Mary Wright Huber of Tucson, AZ (formerly of CT and MA). Mary says:

“Below you will find my family’s version of Indian Pudding.  It is based on an old 1896 Boston Cooking School recipe, which was run by Fannie [Merritt] Farmer. There are many variations of this recipe, some with no spices and some with raisins.  One or two even include pumpkin.  Although I prefer lots of spices (I am fairly flexible on that issue), and can even see the pumpkin people’s point of view.  But I am adamantly anti-raisin!  I also think it is a travesty to cook the pudding for less time, at a higher temperature.  Many of the newer recipes do this, and I can’t see how one can get the same fine-grained custardy texture.  I also think the higher temperatures are likely to form a thick, coagulated layer over the top of the dessert.  This recipe takes times and patience, but the reward is great (taste). It not only makes a great dessert (with ice cream), but I have been known to eat it re-heated; with half and half; for breakfast.”

Note: I have transferred the recipe, with very minor changes, to my recipe app, which allows you to print it out.




Indian Pudding

Serves 10-14
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 3 hours
Allergy Egg, Milk
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Region American
Website What America Cooks
The most American recipe you can find--Indian pudding. Spiced up to meet modern tastes, but still easy and delicious.


  • 4 cups Milk ((See recipe note))
  • 1/2 cup Corn meal
  • 3/4 cups molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger (powdered)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves (ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (ground)
  • 3-4 eggs (well-beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for greasing pan)
  • tablespoon sugar (for preparing pan)


1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Lightly grease a 6- or 8-cup souffle or baking dish with the 1 T. butter, and sprinkle with 1 T. sugar.
2. In saucepan, heat milk just below boiling. When small bubbles appear all over, you're good. Stir in the cornmeal and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-10 minutes until mixture is syrupy. (If your pan does not have a thick bottom, put in a slightly larger pan with boiling water, or a double boiler.)
3. Stir in molasses and cook another 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and stir in butter, salt and spices. Stir until butter is melted.
5. Beat the eggs. Temper the eggs-stir a a few spoonsful of the hot mixture, a spoonful at a time, into the eggs, stirring each time to slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs. This prevents getting scrambled eggs in your pudding. When the eggs have warmed to near the temperature of the by now cooled off mixture, pour all the eggs into the pot and stir until no streaks remain.
6. Pour the mixture into baking dish. Put shallow pan in oven, and place pudding dish in that pan. Pour Boiling water into pan. It should come 1/3 to 1/2 way up the dish. Bake at 275 degrees until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. This can take up to 2 1/2 hours.
7. You can serve the pudding warm or cold. If you are refrigerating, it is best to let it cool to room temperature first. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


You will have a richer pudding if you use 1 cup of cream and 3 cups of whole milk or 2 cups of half and half and 2 cups of milk. If you are counting calories and watching cholesterol, you can still get a satisfactory pudding with 4 cups of 2% milk.

Don't overbake your pudding. I left mine in the oven a little too long and it wept. (Separated so liquid was floating around the outer edges.)



Some people add raisins. I think they're superfluous, but have it your way.

My Joy of Cooking cookbook recipe uses less molasses and adds 1/4 cup of brown sugar. If you don't love molasses as much as I do, you might want to go that way.


Traditional Recipe: Green Tomato Pickles

When I was writing about Johnathan Kaser , one of my father’s uncles, I saw a newspaper article about his wife Amanda winning prizes at the county fair. The one that caught my eye was “tomato pickles.” She also made the best butter, but I’m not going so far as to buy a butter churn, sorry. I have only made anything close to this once before, when I tried my Grandma Vera’s Red Pepper Jam.

Tomato pickles usually means green tomato pickles, so I’m going out on a limb and doing a recipe for green tomato pickles that may or may not win a blue ribbon at the Coshocton County Fair. (And you know I like green tomatoes– I even made them into pie.)

Green Tomato Relish

Green Tomato Relish ingredients. The Farmer’s Market green tomatoes were small, but the red peppers were large.

The trusty Sonnenberg 150th Anniversary Cookbook did not have a recipe for tomato pickles. (But I did spot one for an easy rhubarb jam, which will probably show up here later.–See how easily diverted I am by a cookbook?) The Buffalo Evening News Cook Book had a few recipes, but the directions were sparse. However, when I turned to the Internet  recipes abounded. Too many. It was quite confusing.

There are two main variations in the recipes. One in the technique used–some use short cuts; and the other in the type of spices–some on the spicy side (dill, garlic, mustard seed) and some on the sweet (cinnamon, cloves, allspice.)  The older recipes call for soaking the vegetables in lime (sometimes called slaked lime or household lime).  Since that is not a technique that I’m familiar with, I went with the more modern version–using salt and a  vinegar and sugar syrup.

Salted Green Tomatoes for Relish

Green Tomatoes and Red Peppers, salted.

Note: most versions of green tomato relish use onion, sliced or diced. Since I cannot eat onions, I left them out. You can decide how important they are to your pickled green tomatoes.

Finally, after reading a dozen or more recipes, I combined two.  I liked the longer salting period in one and I wasn’t crazy about the cinnamon, cloves, allspice combo.  I wanted to use my own spices rather than result to canned pickling spices.  And I decided not to use dill, because although I love dill pickles, others in the household do not.

I also do not have a canner, so followed a refrigerator method. My pickles should last about two months.  The worst thing about making these (aside from the vinegar smell pervading the house) is that you can’t really get an idea what they taste like for a least a week. Torture! [UPDATE: They are great. As I mention in the note that comes with the recipe, I’d like to try them with a little less sugar and a bit more spice–maybe some red pepper flakes–but meanwhile I’m slathering them on eggs, in chicken salad, on meat of all kinds, and even plain on bread and butter.]

Green Tomato Pickles


  • 6 cups green tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons Kosher salt (or 3 Tblsp regular)
  • 1 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons celery seed
  • 3 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic or 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed


1. Wash tomatoes and cut out stem and any bad spots. Cut small tomatoes in halves or quarters. Make thick slices of large tomatoes. Wash, stem and remove seeds from red pepper and dice. Put non-reactive strainer in sink and layer tomatoes and peppers, salting each layer (I used 3 layers and divided the salt in thirds.) Let this sit for 6 hours or overnight.
2. Wash in hot soapy water the jars needed, and set aside. (I used one quart jar and one half-pint jar).
3. Take a square of cheesecloth and place the spices in it and tie the crosswise corners making a pouch (or a tea strainer would do). Set aside.
4. When ready to finish the tomato pickle, put a non reactive pan (I used Corning ware) on the stove and put the vinegar and sugar in it, stirring to dissolve sugar. Drop in the spice bag. Bring to boil over high heat and cook until reduced by about 1/3--to a thin syrup.
5. Lightly rinse the tomatoes and peppers in the strainer and shake off excess water. Add to the syrup and cook until the syrup is thick. Total cooking time for the syrup will be about 1 1/2 hours.
6. Allow to cool, and spoon into jars. Poke down with spoon to pack tightly. Pour syrup over, using a table knife or chopstick to get air bubbles released. Tighten lids and refrigerate. If processing, leave 1/4" head space.
7. Do not open for about a week. Tomatoes will keep in refrigerator for two months.


You do not need to peel the tomatoes for green tomato pickles. Some recipes call for dicing them. That depends on how you think you will use them.

The original instructions I took this from called for cooking the tomatoes in the syrup for the full 1 1/2 hours. I preferred to keep them a bit crispier, so didn't add them until later in the process.

If you use onions, they are layered with the tomatoes and peppers.

Another method is to divide the spices between the jars when you add the tomatoes.

If you want to process the tomato pickle relish for longer storage, instead of refrigerating, put in hot water canner and follow the instructions given by the manufacturer.

UPDATE: Now that I have waited a week and tasted them, I'm ready to enter these in the County Fair. They are a little sweet for my taste, but my husband likes them as they are. I'd add more spice, and cut back a bit on the sugar. But still--they are delicious on eggs, or meat, or just on bread and butter.

Amish Buttermilk Cookies

After making some buckwheat pancakes, I had about one cup of buttermilk left over.  In the grandmotherly spirit of waste not, want not, I wondered if there was not a good recipe buttermilk cookies.  Although I could make my Grandmother’s Sugar Cookies with buttermilk instead of sour cream, I was curious about other traditional recipes.

Amish Buttermilk Cookie

Amish Buttermilk Cookies out of oven

And look what I found!  The perfect buttermilk cookie recipe. It is labeled an Amish cookie, and comes directly from Holmes County, Ohio where so many of my relatives grew up.  I’m about to turn to Ken’s family in my ancestor search, and although they were one county over, in Wayne County, Ohio, they were definitely solidly in Amish Country.  So although I have no direct evidence, I strongly suspect that his grandmothers might have made buttermilk cookies, too.

Googling led me to an inn in Holmes County Amish country, and recipes in their blog. I contacted the owner of The Barn Inn, situated in the heart of Ohio Amish country between the county seat of Millersburg and the “capitol of Amish land”, Berlin (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable).   She gave me permission to use her recipe verbatim.

The Barn Inn

The Barn Inn, Holmes County, Ohio

My ten-year-old granddaughter and I tested the recipe and loved the results: a soft, pillowy, comforting cookie.  Although it is traditionally finished with icing, I tested it without, first.  My 8-year-old grandson declared that it did not need frosting. What better cookie expert do you need than a 8-year-old boy?

Amish Buttermilk Cookies

Amish Buttermilk Cookies, with plain frosting and with nuts.

However, my husband, Ken, thought the buttermilk cookies were too bland. He wanted a little crunch. It was too late to add something on the inside of the cookie, so I put a lemony glaze on top and scattered nuts on–proving this is an adaptable cookie, with possibilities to suit everyone.

Amish Buttermilk Cookie

Serves 48
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 27 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Website The Barn Inn
Amish Buttermilk Cookies are a soft cookie that are traditionally frosted with a brown sugar icing.


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 3/4 cups flour--white or half white and half wheat.
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


1. In large bowl, beat softened butter and sugar together until fluffy.
2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
3. In second bowl, whisk together flour, soda and baking powder.
4. Mix the buttermilk alternately with the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
5. Drop by large teaspoonfuls, about 2" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 10-12 minutes until brown on edges.


When my grand daughter and I made the Amish Buttermilk Cookies, we used half wheat and half white flour, which did not affect the quality, but added a little nutrition.

I did not ice them at first, but my husband wanted some crunch, so I glazed some and scattered chopped pecans on top. (A few I frosted, because I like frosting more than he does.) I used a simple lemon juice, water and confectioners sugar glaze.

The frosting suggested by The Barn Inn is 2 1/2 Tablespoons butter, 5 Tablespoons brown sugar, 12 Tablespoons (3/4 cup) milk mixed with sifted confectioners sugar to the right consistency.

While you’re munching on an Amish Buttermilk Cookies, check out accommodations at The Barn Inn between Berlin and Millersburg, Ohio. What an appealing place. Now, should I go in the fall to see the leaves? Around Christmas for the Christmas Cookie tour of Inns? In the summer for the green, green hills?