Friday, April 22, 2005
Sugar High Friday - Indian Pudding
Ahhh... Indian Pudding. I love the smell of it baking, its homey taste, its warmth. It is comfort food of the highest order. Why, oh why have I waited all these years to make some for myself?
Indian Pudding, like baked beans, made frequent appearances at the dinner table of my childhood. I have always loved it, though I don't think it is quite so fondly remembered by my siblings. When I mentioned to my brother Bob that I would be making it for the upcoming Sugar High Friday (which, by the way, has a theme of Molasses this time around and is hosted by Derrick of An Obsession with Food) and said that I thought I remembered that I was the only kid in our family that liked it, he remarked, "I remember that I liked the vanilla ice cream on top."
I couldn't find any definitive history of Indian Pudding, but it does seem to be generally accepted that it came to the early New England settlers by way of the native Americans. I learned from this article in Native Peoples Magazine that the Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes traditionally ate their main meal in the morning and that it often included a savory or sweet corn meal porridge. It sounds as though molasses may have been a later addition.
If you're not inclined to make your own Indian Pudding, your best bet might be to try some at Durgin Park next time you're in Boston. I've never eaten there, but I remember my parents speaking of it fondly. Believe it or not, you can also buy Indian Pudding in a can!
My recipe for Indian Pudding was given to my Mom by Auntie Bee. It is simpler and plainer than others I've seen. It has no butter, eggs, or raisins. I made it with skim milk which resulted in a rather thin, but still very tasty, porridge. I believe my mom always made it with whole milk. This keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days and can be reheated in the microwave.
Baked Indian Pudding
1 quart milk
1/3 cup corn meal
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 tsp ginger
a pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased baking dish. Cook in a slow oven (275 F) for 2 hours. Stir pudding 3 or 4 times while cooking or until it is well blended. (My note: stir fairly often in the beginning to avoid lumps.)