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Indian Pudding

Made with cornmeal and molasses and baked until perfectly wobbly and golden brown, Indian Pudding is an old-fashioned New England dessert like no other.

3.45 avg. rating (69% score) - 78 votes

Indian Pudding

Early colonists brought with them to America a fondness for British “hasty pudding,” a dish made by boiling wheat flour in water or milk until it thickened into porridge. Since wheat flour was scarce in the New World, settlers adapted by using native cornmeal, dubbed “Indian flour,” and flavoring the resulting mush to be either sweet (with maple syrup or molasses) or savory (with drippings or salted meat). In time, Indian pudding evolved into a dish that was resoundingly sweet, with lots of molasses and additional ingredients such as butter, cinnamon, ginger, eggs, and sometimes even raisins or nuts. Recipes for Indian pudding began appearing in cookery books in the late 1700s.

Total Time: 30
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking dish
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300° and grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.

Bring milk to a simmer in a double boiler over high heat. Slowly add the cornmeal, whisking to combine. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 15 minutes.

Slowly add molasses, then remove from heat. Add maple syrup and the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish, and bake until the pudding is set and the top is browned, about 2 hours. Serve hot or cold, topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Comments
  • Sounds great. But ” whisking constantly for 15 minutes” sounds pretty tiring.

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  • Great memories of my younger years growing up in Arlington,Mass. My grama who was born in Canada made Indian Pudding about twice a month, but we never knew when that would happen ! A pleasant surprise when we had desert.

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  • Mom got a recipe for Indian pudding from an elderly former schoolteacher from Maine. It uses shredded wheat biscuits instead of cornmeal. No precooking necessary, Eggs, milk, molases, spices, etc. are blended together, then crumbled biscuits added and whole mixture poured into a greased loaf pan and baked. Custard-like texture with browned top. Served warm with vanilla ice cream, of course. This is the only recipe I’ve come across that uses shredded wheat instead of cornmeal. In any case, it’s traditional at our home!

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  • I have never had Indian Pudding. But something quite similar Grapenut custard. My mother would make when ever she cooked a roast.

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  • I love Indian Pudding. It brings back good memories of my grandmother. This would be going back to the 1940s and 50s. My grandparents had a big coal burning furnace in their basement with a deep shelf between the door and the firebox. Grandma baked her Indian Pudding all day on that shelf in the furnace. She also baked beans there in a bean pot. I have her recipes for both but haven’t made either in years. Incidentally, I believe they serve Indian Pudding at the Orton’s restaurant next to the Vt. Country Store and yes, I also am quite sure they sell a canned version in the store and catalog. There is a gift shop in Marion, MA (I’m not sure it isn’t technically in Wareham) called Ansel Gurney’s. The shop has a very nice little restaurant that serves lunch. Indian Pudding is one of their regular desserts.

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  • Such a great dessert for fall and winter! I recall going to Howard Johnson’s restaurants many years ago with my Mom and enjoying this with vanilla ice cream. I have made it at home several times; be careful which recipe you use as they are all slightly different and the results do vary. I have yet to find a version that tastes like the one served at Ho-Jo’s, but I’m still trying! Their pudding was very moist; I’m going to see if the crockpot recipes come close. The oven versions are sometimes dry. (They still taste good, though.)

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  • Durgin-Park in Quincy Market makes their own on the premises and it is wicked good…Their beans are also great,,

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  • Priscilla

    We now spend our winters in Park City,UT at 7100 feet. I have tried my favorite Indian Pudding (Sturbridge Village) recipe for a number of years and can’t quite get the texture right. Any suggestions for altitude on your recipe or will it not be a factor.

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  • This is one of the most flavorful combination desserts in the world! A good article for Yankee would be if you located the restaurants/hotels that still serve it. There aren’t many. My Go-To locations include: the Public House in Sturbridge, MA and The Student Prince-The Fort in Springfield, MA…and that’s all I know. Growing up there was that special chain of Red Coach Grills. Thank you for posting this recipe.

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  • My Grandmother and then my mother used to make this pudding, especially in the winter. I loved this pudding and so did the rest of the family. I’m so happy to find this recipe. I did find one elsewhere several years ago but it wasn’t the same as that made by my mother. Hope this one has that same taste. Look forward to trying it.

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  • Bake at what temperature? I want to try this, but I don’t want to burn it either.

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  • I used to make this many years ago & now that I found this recipe will make it again to go w/my homemade vanilla ice cream. Thanks

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  • This Jersey Girl (living in a New York world right now!) LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Indian Pudding. I first had it back in the late 70’s when my mom and I went on a bus trip to New England. I always try to have it when I am in New England. I remember getting it in a can (!) somewhere once–maybe VT Country Store? It was pretty good. Most recipes want you to bake it all day. This one looks pretty easy, but I would be the only one eating it, so I will have to pass on making it right now.

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  • This is the best recipe for Indian Pudding that I’ve ever found. After the stovetop prep, I cook it in the crockpot on high (equals 300 degrees).

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  • Anonymous

    I was very happy to get a copy of this recipe. My dad used to make it for us when we were kids, and I didn’t know how he did it. I am now 62 years old so you can imagine how thrilled I was to find it. Thank you

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