Fall is finally upon us and with it, cooler weather. No longer do we (and by we I mean I) look at our kitchens as one of the levels of hell that Dante inexplicably neglected to mention. Time once again for cheesecakes that take hours in the oven and cookies and breads. Time for chili and roasts and soups and stews. Almost time for apple everything and more pumpkin spiced products than is decent. Time to get everyone fat for winter, also time for me to get jogging so I look thinner than all the people I am fattening up!
I have a friend who used to email me a “National Food Day” email. One day she sent me an email for National Indian Pudding Day. I had no idea what on earth that was, let alone what it did to deserve a day of its own. My research tells me that it is a New England dish, and that the Indian refers to the cornmeal from which it is made. Cornmeal was once called Indian meal (please no hate mail). As far as getting its own day, no idea why, perhaps it was what Paul Revere stopped and ate on his ride. I found a few recipes in my research and there seems to be several different versions with several different spice mixes. As I thought of ginger as soon as I read the molasses, I decided to make mine as much like a gingerbread cookie as possible. Indian pudding is not a beautiful dish when it comes out of the oven. No one will look at it and demand to put it on the cover of a magazine. Some things are meant to be eaten, not become the equivalent of a food selfie. Just spoon some into a bowl, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, close your eyes and enjoy!
- Slightly more than 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted or salted and skip adding the salt listed below
- ½ cup dark molasses
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 275º F and butter a 1 ½-2 quart baking dish and set aside.
- In saucepan, add the cornmeal and slowly (at first) stir in the milk. You don’t want lumps. I use a whisk throughout as my stirring, mixing implement.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, once the boil is reached, cook for 3 minutes.
- Reduce heat to its lowest setting and cook for 15 more minutes, stirring often.
- Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients.
- Once thoroughly combined, put the pudding into the buttered baking dish
- Bake for 2 ½-3 hours. The center will look firm, but will still quiver a bit when shaken. A dark crust will have formed on top of the pudding.
- Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream
As most people I know don’t make a lot of puddings of this type, I am adding reheating instructions. Refrigerate any leftovers. They can be reheated in the oven if you cover with aluminum foil at the same baking temperature for 45 minutes. Somethings are just better reheated in the oven (like pizza) and avoiding the microwave all together.