Indian Pudding Recipe: Sometimes Known as Corn Pudding.
Indian Pudding or Corn Pudding, whichever you prefer to call it, was one of the earliest dishes created using corn in the form of cornmeal. This recipe would be an appropriate one to celebrate National Indian Pudding Day on November 13th.
When the pilgrims first came to what is now America, they learned how to plant, harvest and use corn (or maize) in creating new recipes from the Native Americans, then known as “Indians.” The supplies for traditional plum pudding they were used to, were somewhat lacking. The settlers found a way to adapt corn to serve the purpose of a few treats they missed. In that time Native Americans showed them how to grind cornmeal, and this pudding recipe became Indian Pudding. It’s a very popular, traditional recipe in the New England states, perhaps because that was where the new Americans first landed.
Here then is my recipe (more spice, different fruits) for Indian Pudding, adapted from the original recipe given to me by my Mom. Indian Pudding is not a glamorous looking dish, but you’ll be won over with the taste.
Flavor Tip: Once it’s been refrigerated, microwave or re-heat a few moments, because it’s better warm. Enjoy!
Serves: 8 - 10
- 6 cups milk
- ½ cup cornmeal, yellow
- ½ cup or 1 stick butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, beaten
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 and ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 and ½ teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 cup raisins, dates, dried cherries or cranberries
- Heat oven to 250 degrees.
- In a large heavy saucepan, heat milk and butter together until boiling
- In a medium size bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour and salt
- Stir molasses into cornmeal mixture
- Add ½ cup of the milk mixture, a few Tablespoons at a time, into the cornmeal, until sufficiently thinned to pour.
- Pour this mixture into the original milk and butter mix.
- Temper the beaten eggs by gradually adding one-half cup of the hot cornmeal mix into the eggs, stirring well after each addition.
- Stir in the sugar and spices until smooth, then stir in raisins or chopped dates or dried cherries or cranberries.
- Pour this mixture into a 2 and ½ quart baking dish and bake for two hours.
- Serve plain or with ice cream or whipped cream. Garnish with extra fruit and nuts.
Molasses:An Essential Ingredient – Known as Treacle in England
Molasses is absolutely a “must-have” for the flavor base of Indian Pudding. No other syrup will do, because molasses has a distinctive taste. There are three grades of molasses; sulphured, unsulphured and blackstrap. Sulphured is usually put into livestock feed, and unsulphured or blackstrap varieties are used for human consumption. Blackstrap is the one with the most vitamins and minerals for humans, resulting from a third cooking of the sugar cane. According to the government’s dietary guidelines for Americans, blackstrap molasses contain 498 mg Potassium, 3.5 mg Iron, 172 mg calcium and 47 calories in one Tablespoon. This is the brand I recommend.
Alternatives You Might Like
Some things in a recipe MUST be exactly what is called for, and molasses is one of these for Indian Pudding. But you don’t have to stick strictly to the spices or the fruits called for in the recipe. If you don’t care for raisins, add chopped dates or chopped dried cherries or cranberries. Even a combination of these would work. Use your creativity in spicing the pudding, using powdered ginger instead of cinnamon for instance. Or throw in some vanilla or lemon extract just for something different.
Another Tip: Fruits and Nuts Bought In Bulk Are More Economical – Plus You Can Use Them In So Many Ways
I like buying already chopped or dried fruit to add to recipes. The flavor is more concentrated in the dried versions and the already chopped ones are much quicker than spending time doing the chopping. Buying nuts in bulk works well too, just freeze them and take out only the amount you intend to use each time. Buying in bulk quantities also saves money, because these dried fruits and nuts keep well and if properly stored, can be used all through the year. Here’s a bulk buy for dried cranberries:
Putting nuts in the freezer keeps them fresh since the oils in the nuts will not go rancid tasting. I buy pecans in bulk every year, usually 5 pounds in the Autumn for holiday cooking. I put them in the freezer as soon as they’re received. They taste fresh no matter how long it takes me to use them. Any left over from holiday cooking can be eaten out of hand or put out for guests to enjoy. Nobody ever complains about too many, only when they are all gone do I hear moans and grumbling.
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