Indian Pudding

Colonial Cooking Pic A family favorite for many years, Indian Pudding dates back to Colonial America.

Indian pudding is a baked custard made from corn meal and milk, eggs and spices, and is sweetened by dark, rich molasses. According to “America’s Founding Food” authors Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald, colonists used the word “Indian” when referring to corn or corn meal, not the indigenous peoples. This corn pudding became popular among colonial cooks around the time of this country’s independence. Culinary Institute of America

For decades, Indian Pudding was considered a classic desert, offered in most New England restaurants. It has, sadly, gone the way of the antique stores, no longer dotting the landscape. Tourists staying at New England bed & breakfast inns will stand a better chance of tasting this treat, then will residents visiting local restaurants.

Then again, with the difficulty in obtaining corn that has not been rendered toxic by Monsanto’s gene-twisting machinations, it’s better, like most foods these days, to buy locally-grown produce, and make the food yourself at home, but in this case, ONLY if you can locate organic corn which, by law, cannot be genetically-modified (GMO).

I find Indian Pudding, made with grass-fed organic milk, organic corn, and organic unsulphured molasses to be a wonderful treat on cold winter days. I like baking it alongside Boston Baked Beans since they both need extended cooking times at a low temperature. Often, I’ll also make a meatloaf, or roast a chicken, so that by the end of the day, with very little effort, I have an entire meal and desert.

This recipe easily doubles, without any changes to the ratio of ingredients. I typically double it, baking it in a 9 × 13 Le Creuset enameled roaster. The key to a success pudding, is to pay strict attention to the stirring that is required. This is especially important near the end when there’s less moisture and the pudding becomes more dry. The consistency should be that of a bread pudding – firm, yet moist.

Our two favorite ice creams that we make and serve are classic, maple nut and also a 9-egg custard cinnamon. I am not an ice-cream person, except when I have Indian Pudding. The combination of the pudding’s warm and coarse texture, paired with the smooth and a tiny bit bitter flavor, of each ice cream, is a nice pairing.

Indian Corn Pudding Pic
Indian Pudding with Cinnamon Ice Cream

Indian Pudding
1 cup stone ground organic cornmeal
1/2 cup unsulphured organic molasses
2 T rapadura or muscavado sugar
1/4 cup butter of lard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 qts. hot milk
1 pint vanilla, cinnamon or maple nut ice cream

  1. Mix cornmeal, molasses, sugar, butter, salt, soda, and eggs thoroughly with half the hot milk.
#. Spoon into buttered 2-qt casserole or stone crock and bake at 400f, 30 minutes. (Original called for 450f, but I find that to be too hot.)
  1. Stir in remaining milk.
  2. Reduce heat to 275f and bake for 5 hours, stirring occasionally – and this is the secret to making a good Indian Pudding: Be sure to stir every 30-minutes at the beginning; and even MORE important to stir more often during the last two hours – every 15-20 minutes. You do not want a hard crust forming on the top, but instead, to fold the top layer into the pudding to create a nice, consistent texture throughout. A single recipe makes 4-6 servings.

The final consistency should not be runny, and not be firm – somewhere in the middle. If you can plop it in a bowl and it slowly flattens, just a little, and has a moist glow, that would be perfect. Wish I could upload some so you could “see”!

I’ve also baked this and the beans as low as 200f when I wanted to slow dinner down, buying a couple more hours. It’s an oven version of “slow cooking”.

Gale Gand’s Cinnamon Ice Cream

Gand. Ice Cream. That’s about all I need to say on this. If it has her name attached, it’s a good recipe, although, we do cut down on the sugar as she tends to run things high on the sweet side. But as for technique? No one beats Gand. For this recipe, I left the sugar as is. And, once again, only grass-fed milk, properly fed chicken eggs, and organic, or at least biodynamic and sustainable products will provide the appropriate nutrition and be safe for your family.

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half, cream, vanilla, cinnamon stick and ground cinnamon, whisking occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. When the cream mixture reaches a fast simmer (do not let it boil), turn off the heat and let the flavors infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar.
  4. In a thin stream, whisk half of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
  5. Then pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan containing the rest of the cream mixture.
  6. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  7. At 160 degrees, the mixture will give off a puff of steam.
  8. When the mixture reaches 180 degrees it will be thickened and creamy, like eggnog. If you don’t have a thermometer, test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the mixture. Run your finger down the back of the spoon. If the stripe remains clear, the mixture is ready; if the edges blur, the mixture is not quite thick enough yet. When it is ready, quickly remove it from the heat.
  9. Meanwhile, in a bowl, put two handfuls of ice cubes in the bottom, and add cold water to cover. Rest a smaller bowl in the ice water.
  10. Pour the cream mixture through a fine sieve or chinois (to remove the vanilla bean pieces and cinnamon sticks) and into the smaller bowl.
  11. Chill 3 hours, then continue according to the directions of your ice cream maker.