Historians trace Indian Pudding, this uniquely New England dessert as far back as the 17th century. Most likely it’s a spin off of England’s “Hasty Pudding” which uses wheat flour. While Indian Pudding uses ” Indian Meal” or what we call corn meal nowadays. Molasses was an inexpensive and abundant sweetener that was readily available for making Rum for Boston’s booming trade business. Of course most families had a cow or two, so milk was always plentiful too! Since this pudding is cooked low and slow, the hearths in colonial homes were perfect for cooking this sweet dessert.
Now I have to admit, I used to have to make TONS of Indian Pudding while I worked at The Freeport Cafe in Freeport, Maine. I always thought that it smelled great, but looked like poo. So I didn’t try it until I was much older. When I did finally try it I was pleasantly surprised. The flavor was amazing and it was incredibly rich. People who have texture issues probably will want to stay away from Indian Pudding though. It kind of has the texture of really wet, uncooked french toast. If you can get over that though, you are in for a real New England Treat. Here is my recipe for Traditional New England Indian Pudding:
- 4 cups milk, scalded
- 1/3 cup corn meal
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees
- Scald milk in a double boiler, slowly add corn meal and cook for 25 min.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir.
- Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 2 hours.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
- Serves 6