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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Indian Pudding

While many think that Indian Pudding is a heritage dish from the Native Americans they would have been fooled. With November being the national holiday of Indian Pudding that does seem like that should be right. It was the Native Americans or Indians as they were known to the early colonist that introduced the starving settlers to food in the "New World" Without the natives there would have been no first Thanksgiving, let alone a feast. Indian pudding was most likely served and enjoyed at the first Thanksgiving.

The British colonist had a fondness for what was known as "hasty pudding" This dish was made by boiling wheat flour in water or milk until thick. In the New World there was little wheat flour but there was cornmeal. The settlers referred to cornmeal as "indian flour" Indian pudding was much likely made by using cornmeal and flavored with maple syrup or salted meat depending on whether dish should be sweet or savory. In time ingredients such as butter, cinnamon, ginger, eggs, raisins and nuts were included in the pudding.

Today this pudding is prepared much more like a baked custard with milk, butter, molasses, eggs, spices and cornmeal. The dish is often dark and lumpy mush that does not appeal to the palate but served with ice cream it makes a great topping.

6 cups of milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup molasses
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup golden raisins (optional)
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 250°F. Scald the milk and butter in a large double boiler. Or heat the milk and butter for 5 or 6 minutes on high heat in the microwave, until it is boiling, then transfer it to a pot on the stove. Keep hot on medium heat.
In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, and salt; stir in molasses. Thin the mixture with about 1/2 cup of scalded milk, a few tablespoons at a time, then gradually add the mixture back to the large pot of scalded milk. Cook, stirring until thickened.
Temper the eggs by slowly adding a half cup of the hot milk cornmeal mixture to the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture back in with the hot milk cornmeal mixture, stir to combine.
Stir in the sugar and spices, until smooth. At this point, if the mixture is clumpy, you can run it through a blender to smooth it out. Stir in the raisins (optional).
Pour into a 2 1/2 quart shallow casserole dish. Bake for 2 hours at 250°F.
Allow the pudding to cool about an hour to be at its best. It should be reheated to warm temperature if it has been chilled. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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