This, right here, is the best Indian pudding in the world. I adapted this classic Yankee recipe from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer (originally published in 1896). I think it’s even better than Durgin-Park’s famed Indian pudding, but don’t say anything because I don’t want to get yelled at. (Do they still yell at people over there anymore?) My version uses a combination of molasses and maple syrup as well as ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The consistency is very soft and is meant to whey a bit (meaning some liquid separates from the pudding—I like to call it sauce). Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream melting all over it in shallow, milky pools. Dreamy!
No Indians were harmed in the making of this pudding.
4 cups milk
½ cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp. butter
½ cup molasses
½ cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
2 eggs, well beaten
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.
In a medium pot, bring milk to a gentle simmer. Very slowly whisk in cornmeal briskly to prevent clumping. Cook for 20 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain a gentle simmer, until mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon well. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter, molasses, maple syrup, salt, and spices until well blended. Temper the eggs, meaning slowly whisk in about ¼ cup of the hot pudding mixture to the beaten eggs, then return tempered mixture to the pot. This prevents the eggs from scrambling.
Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish and bake about 1½ hours, until center is set (the center will still be soft, but you don’t want it to look liquidy). Some recipes call for a water bath (i.e., set the casserole dish in a larger pan, then pour boiling water into the outer pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the pudding dish), but I’ll be honest, I don’t bother. This right here is the Indian pudding of my childhood. Let sit at least 20 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
Milk: Our Family Farms of Massachusetts, Greenfield, MA
Cornmeal: Winter Moon Organic Farm, Hadley, MA
Butter: Mendon Creamery, Mendon, MA
Maple syrup: Williams Farm Sugarhouse, Old Deerfield, MA
Eggs: Chip-In Farm, Bedford, MA