Baked Indian Pudding
An old-fashioned New England favorite, Indian pudding is a classic American dessert that just happens to be low in calories. I remember tasting it for the first time at the original Durgin Park restaurant in Boston, back in the 1960s. As with many other starch-based puddings, success with this recipe depends on long, slow cooking. Some modern interpretations add a couple of eggs to help the pudding set quickly, but the real thing is made without eggs.
Makes about 8 servings
4 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup half-and-half, for serving
One 1 1/2- to 2-quart gratin dish or other baking dish, sprayed with vegetable cooking spray
- Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
- Place 3 1/2 cups of the milk and the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan, such as an enameled-iron Dutch oven. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, whisk the cornmeal into the remaining 1 cup milk in a small bowl.
- Whisk the diluted cornmeal into the hot milk a quarter at a time.
- Continue cooking the cornmeal over very low heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, molasses, salt, and cinnamon.
- Pour into the prepared pan. Bake the pudding for about 1 hour, or until it is set, but still soft.
- Cool the pudding briefly on a rack and serve immediately.
Serving: Spoon the warm pudding onto plates or dessert bowls and top each serving with 2 tablespoons of the half-and-half.
Wrap leftovers and keep at a cool room temperature. They are best reheated in a microwave oven.