A pie or two for Thanksgiving is expected, so why not this year try something a little different, an Indian Pudding — a dessert with a whiff of old school New England, but still a novelty for most guests.
In its most basic form, Indian Pudding is a type of English hasty pudding, a sweetened porridge, adapted to American staples, cornmeal and molasses.
If that sounds strange, don’t be put off. Most recipes are a near dead-ringer for pumpkin pie, without the crust, and others are closer to a rich porridge custard, but our choice — adapted from Nick Maglieri — takes us back to its roots. No eggs. No leavening. Not pumpkin-pie spices. Just cinnamon.
We’ve tried a lot of recipes before we settled here.
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It’s less sweet. Less rich.
If we wanted pumpkin pie, we’d bake pumpkin pie. The cornmeal here stars a little more — so be sure to use a good variety — and the texture is creamy, but soft-set, almost breakfast-like.
I take mine with a splash of heavy cream or beaten cream, but you can serve it with ice cream if you like something sweeter.
- 4 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Lightly butter a 2 quart bean pot or baking dish. Set aside.
- Set aside 1 cup of milk, and pour the remaining 3 1/2 cups of milk, and sugar, into a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a simmer over low heat.
- In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and cornmeal.
- Gradually, whisk the cornmeal-milk mixture into the simmering milk. Reduce heat to low.
- Continue cooking, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the molasses, butter, cinnamon and salt.
- Pour the mixture into the buttered dish and bake for about an hour until lightly set.
- Cool slightly and serve warm with either lightly-sweetened beaten cream, ice cream or a generous splash of cream.