Sunday, November 21, 2010

Indian Pudding

I grew up in Connecticut.  (Don't bother looking for me there, I'm gone.)  I thought Connecticut was New England but it's not actually anymore.  I'm not sure any of New England is still New England but I suppose some remote towns in Maine might be.

When I went to college in Massachusetts, this strange dessert was eaten out there.  Indian Pudding.  What the heck is it?  It was dark brown and served warm with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream.  I hate vanilla anything.  Eventually I tried this glop.  Delicious.  There's the strong taste of molasses balanced by the sweetness of the ice cream.  The cold of the ice cream against the heat of the pudding.  The substance of the cornmeal (sort of like a polenta).   This version seems to have originated at at the time of the molasses trade to the colonies mid-1700s but it obviously was made earlier, possibly with maple syrup, quite possibly with no sweetener and as a savory, not as a dessert, sort of a frumenty.  Made primarily of cornmeal and molasses, it could be made over an open fire (or the stomach of an animal like haggis).  It requires no skill or special equipment.  It could be stirred with a stick with Pootatucks looking on.

There are, like anything, several versions, some with eggs, some with raisins, but this one is the best.  You're supposed to scald the milk first.  Do I look like someone who's going to bother with that?  If you said no, you're correct.  You can make it in a microwave, and I've done it but I can't really remember.  You could probably make it on a stovetop instead of baking it just the way rice pudding can be done.

Use a large buttered baking dish.  You can cut this in 1/2 if you'd like.  You need to be a responsible adult and keep an eye on it.  I'm guessing it'll take about 2 hours at 350 degrees but your mileage may vary up to 3 hours.  It'll set up, but don't overcook because it'll set up more once it's out of the oven.  Serve with, yes, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, or custard (very nice).

  2/3  cup yellow corn meal                  
  4 1/2  cup milk                              
  1/4 cup butter                            
  1/2 cup molasses                          
  1 teaspoon salt                              
  1/4 cup sugar                             
  1 teaspoon cinnamon      

What does this have to do with writing?  I have to eat, don't I?  


1 comment:

Scott W. Clark said...

I am visiting from Ukraine. Thanks. Interesting blog.