28 November 2013
Indian pudding may not win any beauty contests; but, like your mama said, looks aren't everything.
Indian pudding, so named because the settlers called the corn meal introduced to them by the native people "Indian meal," is one of the first American foods to be documented. The earliest versions likely had nothing more than cornmeal, milk and molasses. Though refinements have been made over the past four centuries, they've been pretty minor. I like to make it in honor of my ancestors who came over from England on the Mayflower.
Every time I make it, I wonder why I don't make it more often. It's so easy and so good (if not pretty). In fact, if you need another dessert today, this should be it! You probably have all the simple ingredients on hand. Just whisk it on the stovetop for a few minutes (or get one of the kids to do it), pour it into a casserole dish, pop it into the oven and forget about it for 2 hours while it bakes and fills your house with its homey aromas.
(Makes 6 servings)
3 cups milk (I use organic 2%)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Butter a 1.5-quart baking dish (I use a CorningWare French White 1.5-Quart Round Casserole). Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In 2-quart saucepan, heat milk just to a simmer.
2 While oven and milk are heating, whisk together salt, baking powder and spices in a small bowl and get other ingredients ready.
3 When milk is hot, gradually whisk in the corn meal. Cook at a slow bubble, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes until slightly thickened (rather like pancake batter). Remove from heat.
4 Whisk in the molasses, sugar and butter. Whisk a little of the mixture into the egg, then add it to the pot, whisking well. Pour into buttered baking dish. Bake at 275 degrees for 2 hours. Cool for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.