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.
Note: I have transferred the recipe, with very minor changes, to my recipe app, which allows you to print it out.
||2 hours, 30 minutes|
Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
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)
||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. |
||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.) |
||Stir in molasses and cook another 5 minutes. |
||Remove from heat and stir in butter, salt and spices. Stir until butter is melted. |
|| 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. |
|| 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. |
||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.