28 November 2013

Indian Pudding - Pilgrim Comfort Food


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.

Indian Pudding

(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.

26 comments:

Amy at love made my home said...

It looks lovely and very tasty Jean! I think that this could be one to make - I will have to track down some cornmeal.... xx

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Amy! When you get that cornmeal, let me know how you like it.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Note to Amy and any other readers in the UK: I'm told cornmeal is readily available there in health food shops and that major markets like Sainsbury's also carry it. You might find it labeled maize meal. And then there is always polenta, which might do.

Amy at love made my home said...

I was thinking that I might try and find some coarse grind polenta in Sainsbury's! xx

Angie Schneider said...

It looks super tasty, Jean. I wish I could have a bite now.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Angie! Do they use much cornmeal in Germany?

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

A “straight arrow” recipe that hits the bull’s-eye with me! Sweet…simple. 5 arrowheads for that one, Jeani! And yeah, I know, someone will probably think arrowheads are politically incorrect, but my awarding of same is only for those who accept my good intent. Neither will I condemn the obvious implicit shame for Indian culture that goes with those who take offense. It is Thanksgiving, eh wot? Hope yours was a peach, Jeani…wait a minute…peach? Pumpkin, squash, cranberry? Hmmm. OK. Hope yours was Indian pudding perfect!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Sully! Of course, I don't make it as sweet as some people do, though it's plenty sweet. I decided to look at a few other recipes and compare them to the one I've always made and I couldn't believe the vast quantities of sugar and molasses called for. Oh well, each to his own.

AdriBarr said...

I love Indian Pudding. I first tasted it in the early eighties, and I was just bowled over by the delightful flavors - the sweet corn. molasses and spices married so beautifully, and the warm pudding was the perfect match for the vanilla ice cream that accompanied my first taste. Best wishes to you for a wonderfully spicy and warm holiday season.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thank you, Adri, and best wishes to YOU!

Tony Grant said...

"like your mama said, looks aren't everything."

Oh come on Jean,beauty is what is inside us and I am not just saying that. I've had experience!!!!!Ha! ha!

I absolutely love the history lesson. I have learned something. Thank you for that.
I wrote a post about the Pilgrim Fathers and Non Conformity some time ago on my blog.

I mention a hot cross bun the Pilgrim Fathers reputedly tried to take on-board the Mayflower amongst their provisions. Unfortunately hot cross buns were illegal at the time. Probably too many Catholic associations!!! It was confiscated and remained in Southampton where it is on display in the Tudor House Museum in Southampton to this day.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Tony! And I rather like that my ancestors were nonconformists, as I've never been one to conform myself!

Liz Berg said...

I've hunted down a recipe for Indian pudding for a friend, but never made nor eaten it myself. I have a feeling I'd be a fan :)

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Liz! I'm afraid I'm a fan of too many things! :D

LANA said...

Ah, you brought back memories! I used to make indian pudding 30 years ago, it was a great comfort food and the taste reminded me of pumpkin pie. I stopped making it because, at the time, my children did not like it, and consequently lost the recipe. Thanks for bringing it back. Most people have not heard of it or do not know what it is. I am going to make it a staple on my Thanksgiving dessert list!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Lana, thank you! I just love it when someone tells me I brought back memories. When you make it, let me know how it turns out for you.

Rosita Vargas said...

se ve muy rico y adorable muy buena pinta tambièn,abrazos.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Gracias, Rosita!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

I remember making Indian Pudding way back when my girls were young and it tied into a homeschool lesson about the pilgrims. I think we sewed bonnets from handkerchiefs as well. Fun times =) Thanks for the recipe, Jean. Don't know if I'll ever find the time to try them all.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Ruth, what a nice memory - one I'm sure your girls will pass along to the next generation! So many foods, so little time!

yummychunklet said...

Looks like a delicious pudding.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, yummychunklet!

Unknown said...

Add a little corn meal and you've got spoon bread. God Bless America. XOGREG

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Greg, thanks for the reminder - it's been way too long since I've had spoon bread!

Charles said...

I'm so glad you posted your Indian pudding Jean, after mentioning it to me! I must shamefully admit I completely forgot to look it up - so much on my mind! It looks really good... it reminds me a bit of a sticky toffee pudding. If it's anything like that then I'd love it I'm sure!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Charles! I do think you would like it.

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