Indian pudding is a dessert made of cornmeal boiled with scalded milk, sweetened with molasses, and cooked slowly until thickened, then baked until set. It is most typically served warm with hard sauce, ice cream or whipped cream.
Indian pudding dates to the Colonial days of America, when newly arrived Colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and elsewhere sought to re-create the dishes of their homeland with the ingredients they hand available to them in the new land.
Indian pudding is derived from the British hasty pudding, a dish made from wheat flour or oatmeal boiled with milk. Colonists did not yet have quantities of wheat flour, so they made their hasty pudding with cornmeal, which they had in abundance, thanks to the Native Americans, or Indians—hence the name.
To flavor their Indian pudding, the Colonists added spices such as ginger and cinnamon, and they fortified it with eggs and butter, when available. A distinctly Yankee touch was the addition of molasses, which was a product of the local maritime trade.
Today, Indian pudding remains a popular dessert, especially in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Its appeal has expanded beyond the New England region, particularly at Thanksgiving time. Indian pudding has a comforting, homey texture and is inexpensive and relatively easy to prepare.
Admittedly, it doesn’t look very appetizing. But rest assured that when you take a bite with a little vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, you won’t want to stop. It has an almost gingerbread-y flavor. It really is delicious. Give it a try!
And remember to grind your cornmeal in your WonderMill. You can just use unpopped popcorn and grind it between the bread and coarse settings.
- 3 cups milk
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 egg, well beaten
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 T butter
- 1 cup cold milk
Scald the 3 cups of milk in the top of a double boiler. Stirring constantly, slowly blend into milk a mixture of the cornmeal, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir in a blend of the egg and molasses.
Cook and stir over boiling water 10 minutes, or until very thick. Beat in the butter.
Turn into a well-buttered 1½ quart casserole. Pour cold milk over top.
Bake at 300 F for 2 hours, or until browned.
*History of Indian Pudding from wiseGEEK.